Death penalty proposed in murder of Yemeni Jew


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Prosecutors are asking for the death penalty for a Yemeni Muslim who has admitted killing a Jewish countryman.

The verdict on Abdul Aziz Yahya al-Abdi will be announced March 2,  the French press agency AFP reported. Abdi, 39, shot Masha Yaeish al-Nahari, a 30-year-old father of nine, last December.

At an earlier hearing, Abdi said he told the Yemeni Jewish community in a letter "that they should either convert to Islam or leave Yemen, or I would kill them."

Nahari’s father told the court that his son was confronted near his home in the Amran province town of Raydah and told to convert to Islam. When Nahari, who taught Hebrew in one of the town’s two Jewish schools, told Abdi to leave him alone, the defendant shot him multiple times with a submachine gun.

Abdi’s lawyers tried to show that he was not responsible for the killing because of his state of mind, which helped the defendant avoid prison five years ago after he killed his wife. Abdi, though, shouted "I am not mad" in the courtroom.

Following the murder, the Yemeni government in January paid to relocate the Jews living in Amran to the capital of Sana’a in order to better protect the community. Some Jews were refusing to move, according to a Yemeni news report.

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