Al-Qaeda suspect wanted in Yemen [Archives:2004/765/Front Page]

August 19 2004

By Peter Willems
Yemen Times Staff

Last Sunday the Yemeni government demanded the extradition of a suspected Al-Qaeda member who was recently arrested by British officials.
Abu Issa Al-Hindi, also known as Bilal, is wanted by the Yemeni government for being involved in the kidnapping of foreign tourists in Yemen in 1998. Yemen authorities have been searching for Al-Hindi for the last five years.
According to government officials, the chances of Al-Hindi being handed over to Yemen are not likely. Yemen and the United Kingdom do not have an extradition treaty.
“Yemen does not have an extradition treaty with Britain because they do not have laws that allow the death penalty,” said a Yemeni government official. “It does not appear feasible that the UK will hand over Al-Hindi because there is no treaty, and this will continue to be an obstacle unless it can be overcome.”
Al-Hindi is believed to have links with Egyptian Abu Hamza Al-Masri who is wanted in Yemen on charges of orchestrating terrorist activities while being based in Britain. He is believed to have been involved in the kidnapping of 17 foreign tourists in Yemen six years ago. Four of the hostages were killed during a rescue attempt carried out by the Yemeni army.
Al-Masri was arrested by British authorities two months ago. For the last three years, Yemen has been asking the British government for Al-Masri's extradition. The Yemeni government has had a warrant for his arrest since 1999, but requests for his extradition have been denied.
The United States is also demanding the British government to hand over Al-Masri. If extradited to the United States, he will face an 11-count indictment.
Along with plotting the kidnapping in Yemen, the indictment includes Al-Masri trying to organize a terrorist training camp in Oregon in 1999. He is also accused of recruiting at least one man to an Al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan and providing material support to Al-Qaeda in 1999 and 2000.
If convicted by a US court, Al-Masri could face the death penalty or up to 100 years in prison. British officials have said that he will be extradited only if the United States gives assurances that he can only be sentenced to imprisonment.
Al-Hindi was able to enter the United States in 2000 and is suspected of helping to collect information used in the planning of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001.