Al-Qaeda escapee Al-Badawi surrenders after government reduces verdict [Archives:2007/1096/Local News]

October 22 2007

Mohamed bin Sallam
SANA'A, Oct. 20 – Sources confirmed last Tuesday that Jamal M. Al-Badawi, convicted of affiliation with Al-Qaeda and known as Abu Abdulrahman , surrendered to Yemeni security in Aden; however, neither the date of surrender nor how or where he did so were specified.

Al-Badawi escaped from Political Security Prison in Sana'a in February 2006.

The same sources also noted that Yemeni judiciary convicted Al-Badawi of involvement in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole destroyer, sentencing him to 15 years' imprisonment in Political Security Prison.

Al-Badawi escaped from the aforementioned prison in mid-February 2006 along with 23 other convicted Al-Qaeda affiliates by digging a 30-meter tunnel from their cell and emerging into the women's section of a neighboring mosque.

It was the most famous escape, causing large-scale interest among Yemeni political and security forces. Several authorities were accused of facilitating the escape, with three officials sentenced to several years' imprisonment due to being remiss about it.

Al-Badawi had done the same thing in 2003 with nine prisoners of the same link, escaping from Aden's Al-Mansourah Prison; however, Yemeni security apparatus tracked them down and returned him to prison.

A court specialized in criminal issues and state security tried and sentenced him to life in prison; however, the penalty appeals court reduced his sentence to 15 years, of which he served four and a half years.

Al-Badawi also was involved in the Oct. 12, 2000 bombing of the USS Cole ship at Aden Port using an explosive-laden boat that killed 17 U.S. Marines and injured 33 others.

It further was mentioned that the mastermind of the Cole bombing, according to unspecified accusations, was Abdulrahim Al-Nashari, who was sentenced to death in absentia after the CIA arrested him in one of the Gulf countries.

Many of the 23 Political Security Prison escapees surrendered to security authorities at varying intervals, while five were killed in operations conducted by anti-terrorism forces. Such operations ended in killing Yemen's most prominent Al-Qaeda leader, Fawaz Al-Rabei, who was killed in Bani Hushaish area northeast of Sana'a last October. Four of the escapees remain at large.

Al-Rabei was convicted of leading Yemen's Al-Qaeda group, which attacked the French oil tanker Limburg in Al-Dhabah in Hadramout governorate, killing a Bulgarian sailor who was part of a 25-member technical team.

Subsequent trials revealed that Al-Rabei and his associates carried out the attack following the murder of “Abu Ali” Al-Harathi, leader of Al-Qaeda in Yemen, who was killed with several of his followers near Marib governorate's Al-Naqa'a village by an unmanned U.S. aircraft.

Sources noted that the escapees' surrender usually follows negotiations between authorities and leaders, causing the authority to abide by certain conditions, including reducing issued verdicts or trials in return for assurances not to attack U.S. or Western institutions.

A well-informed source reported that Al-Badawi surrendered at this time after mediators intervened during Ramadan, causing the authority to commit to reducing Al-Badawi's remaining prison term to as little as possible. However, it will not hand him over to the United States, which has offered $5 million to anyone with information leading to his arrest. Al-Badawi also pledged not to launch any terrorist acts.

The Political Security Prison escapees include Al-Badawi, the second person accused in the USS Cole bombing, and nine others tried for the 2002 bombing of the French oil tanker Limburg near the Mukalla coast.

The escapees also include four runaways, against whom verdicts of being affiliated with Al-Qaeda and forming armed gangs were issued. Two others belong to an Al-Tawheed group cell, along with convict Abdullah A. Al-Raimi, whom Qatar handed over to Yemen. The latter was sentenced to four years' imprisonment. Additionally, six individuals accused of Al-Qaeda affiliation were about to be tried.

Jamal Al-Badawi was born in 1963 in Al-Beidha governorate's Al-Sharqiyan area in Mukairas district. The U.S. accused him of involvement in the USS Cole bombing and demanded handing him over.

However, Yemeni courts charged Al-Badawi, accusing him of killing and attempting to kill U.S. nationals and U.S. Army personnel. He further was accused of employing weapons of mass destruction, as well as subverting government and defense institutions and funding a terrorist organization.