USS COLE VERDICTS UPHELD

Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the suspected ringleader of the 2000 bomb attack on the USS Cole which killed 17 U.S. sailors, will receive the death penalty. Jamal Mohammed al-Badawi, who was originally sentenced to death, had his sentence commuted to 15 years in jail. Three others were also convicted and are to serve between five and ten years. A fourth had his sentence reduced from eight years to five years.

The Yemeni appeals court was held on Saturday under tight security. Streets were blocked, and several armored vehicles and military jeeps with machine guns surrounded the building.

Al-Nashiri has been described as al-Qaeda's chief of naval operations in the Gulf. He is currently being held by the U.S. at an undisclosed location, after he was arrested in the United Arab Emirates in October, 2002. After sentencing, he accused the presiding Judge Said al-Qataa of being an agent of the U.S.

The Yemeni suicide bombers, Ibrahim al-Thawr and Abdullahal-Misawa, packed their small boat with almost 500 pounds of high explosives, which left a gaping hole in the side of the Cole.