Yemen requests extradition of Cole suspect [Archives:2004/754/Front Page]

July 12 2004

The Yemeni government has officially asked the United States to hand over one of the main suspects of the October 2000 bombing of the destroyer USS Cole near Aden, official Yemeni sources have disclosed.
Officials said that the Foreign Ministry sent on Wednesday an official request to Washington demanding the handover of Abdul-Raheem Al-Nashri, who is believed to have masterminded the attack on the US ship as it was refueling at the Yemeni harbor of Aden. The Defense Ministry's newspaper' “26 September”, quoting government sources, said, “Contacts are under way with US authorities to extradite the Yemeni citizen Abdul-Raheem Al-Nashri.” A Yemeni counter-terrorism court on Wednesday charged Al-Nashri and five other suspects with the attack.
Prosecutors charged Al-Nashri, who is being tried in absentia, with ordering and funding the bombing of the USS Cole on Oct. 12, 2000. The five accomplices, who appeared before the court, were accused of having been involved in the planning the attack. The attack, carried out by two suicide bombers using a small boat laden with explosives, killed 17 American sailors onboard the vessel and wounded 39 others.
Al-Nashri, also known as Mullah Bilal, was reportedly arrested in the United Arab Emirates in November 2002 and handed over to the US authorities. He was described at the time as Al-Qaeda's chief of operations in the Persian Gulf.
Among the defendants who appeared before the Sana'a court on Wednesday were three key suspects in the attack: Jamal Muhammad Al-Badawi, alias Abu Abdurrahman, 30, Fahd Muhammad Al-Qasa'a, also known as Abu-Houdhifa, 30, and Maamoun Ahmad Saeed (Amswa), 30. The two suspects are police officers Ali Muhammad Al-Muraqib, 30, and Murad Salih Al-Saruri, 27. They are charged with providing the other suspects with forged ID documents. The six men were accused of “forming an armed band to carry out terrorist acts, endangering state security and the stability of society, and harming the country's highest interests.”