Al-Badawi still detained [Archives:2007/1099/Front Page]
By:Yemen Times Staff
SANA'A, Oct, 31- The American government said on Monday that it had insured Jmal Al-Badwi, who was convicted over the al Qaeda bombing of the U.S. Navy ship Cole in 2000, was still in prison in Yemen despite reports of his release.
U.S. embassy representative visited the jail in Aden and “physically laid eyes” on Jamal Al-Badawi, said US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack in Washington. “That was reassuring to us.”
McCormack refused to confirm, if the Yemeni authorities had vowed to carry out the verdict. “We have made very clear that it is our deep desire that he serves his full term behind bars,” he said.
The United States suspended the signing of a 20.6 million dollar aid package for Yemen this week after reports that Al-Badawi had been allowed to return to his home more than a year after fleeing jail. According to American press that the U.S agency called Millennium Challenge Corp., canceled – on Friday -a ceremony set for Wednesday to inaugurate a $20.6 million grant to Yemen.
While the MCC did not explicitly tie the decision to the report that Al-Badawi had been let out of prison, a senior U.S. official said the two were “perhaps not unrelated.”
Yemen was to receive the money to help it fight corruption and improve performance on MCC's indicators that measure the rule of law, political rights and fiscal policy. If it met the benchmarks, Yemen could be eligible for more U.S. assistance. An agreement formalizing the grant was to have been signed on Wednesday but the MCC last week said it would postpone the grant and was “currently undertaking a review to determine the country's future status with MCC.” The MCC cancellation was announced on Friday.. the same day White House attacked Yemen for reportedly releasing Al-Badwai, who was one of the al-Qaeda masterminds of the US Cole bombing AT Aden port, which killed 17 sailors. Therefore, Al- Badawi became featured on a US list of most-wanted terrorists with a five-million-dollar bounty on his head.
Later, Yemen denied the release of Al-Badwi saying “Al-Badawi is in custody.”
Al-Badawi, who was among the 23 al-Qaeda fugitives, escaped jail in February 2006, surrendered on October 10. None of the Yemeni statements spelled out where or under what circumstances Al-Badawi is detained. AP reported that a Yemeni official said Al-Badawi was granted his freedom after pledging loyalty to President Saleh.