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Two former German soldiers sentenced over bid to form mercenary force in Yemen

An airport staffer walks through the rubble of a building destroyed by Saudi-led air strikes at Sana’a Airport in Sana’a, Yemen, on December 21, 2021. (File photo by Reuters)

German prosecutors have sentenced two former Bundeswehr soldiers to jail on charges of attempting to form a mercenary force to intervene in the ongoing war on Yemen in favor of Saudi Arabia and its allies.

The Higher Regional Court in Stuttgart said on Monday that the defendants, aged 61 and 53, wanted to build up a force of 150 fighters to conquer areas controlled by the Sana’a-based Yemeni forces. The court said this would have involved civilian casualties.

Prosecutors said the defendants, whose identities were not immediately available, were motivated by Christian fundamentalist beliefs and they had also followed instructions from a fortune teller.

The court added that they were also influenced by a desire to make money. The soldiers allegedly budgeted up to €40,000 ($39,000) per month to pay for the troops. 

One of the defendants apparently tried to contact Saudi officials to obtain financial and military help, while the other tried to recruit former and current soldiers.

“The defendants have achieved nothing at all,” the presiding judge said on Monday.

The court handed the defendants suspended sentences of 14 months and 18 months.

The verdict is considered final, as both parties waived their right to appeal.

According to German news magazine Der Spiegel, the two men worked for the controversial security firm Asgaard after their time in the German military, known as Bundeswehr, as paratroopers.

YGC calls on UN to stop Saudi-led coalition’s acts of piracy

Meanwhile, Yemen Gas Company (YGC) has called on the United Nations to pressure the Saudi-led military coalition into stopping its acts of piracy as the Yemeni people suffer from dire living circumstances due to the siege imposed on the country.

The country announced in a statement that the alliance has been holding the tanker ship Sarah Lady, which carries nine thousand and 230 metric tons of imported natural gas, since October 18. It called on the UN to secure the quick release of the seized vessel.

YGC stressed that the continued detention of the Yemen-bound ship comes despite the fact that it has undergone inspection and secured UN clearance.

It denounced the Saudi-led coalition’s practices as a contravention of international and humanitarian charters and principles.

Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states.

The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.

While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to meet any of its objectives, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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