A Yemeni court convicted 15 Shiite rebels of taking up arms against the army Tuesday and sentenced 10 of them to death and the others to sentences ranging from five to 15 years in jail.

Yemen's government is embroiled in a five-year conflict with Shiite rebels in the country's north.

The rebels, led by Abdel-Malek al-Hawthi, complain their needs are ignored by the government and that the state is increasingly allying with hard-line Sunni fundamentalists, some of whom consider Shiites as heretics.

The 13 of the men facing trial refused to accept legal counsel and told the judge they would not appeal the verdicts since they are prisoners of war and consider the proceedings illegal.

Lawyers of the remaining two said they would appeal.

Judge Mohsen Alwan, reading the verdicts, said the accused took part in criminal armed crimes and killed soldiers while pursuing their aim of changing the regime.

Yemeni courts have so far convicted 47 rebels of taking up arms against the state and had sentenced 14 of them to death. About 90 others are awaiting trial.