He's the Al Qaeda leader I wrote about yesterday in "Jamal Badawi Blew Up USS Cole, Yemen Released Him."
Al-Badawi has been convicted of helping plan the attack on the USS Cole, seven years ago. News programs announced his release earlier today. Now, at least one news outlet has published an AP story, "Yemen Frees Al Qaeda Mastermind of USS Cole Bombing." That article fills in a few more details:
- October 2000: Attack on USS Cole kills 17 American sailors
- April 2003: Jamal al-Badawi and nine other people suspected of involvement in the Cole attack
- 2004: Jamal al-Badawi escapes, this time with 22 others, mostly Al Qaeda fighters
- July 2007: eight Spanish tourists, visiting an ancient Yemeni temple, killed in a suicide attack - After this, President Saleh has said that his government and Al Qaeda have a truce
- October 11, 2007: Jamal al-Badawi turns himself in, swears loyalty to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, is released, and Yemeni police are ordered to "stop all previous orders concerning measures adopted against al-Badawi."
- October 27, 2007: Jamal al-Badawi receives well-wishers at his home
Yemen's being the ancestral homeland of Osama bin Laden may or may not have anything to do with al-Badawi's release.
Acceptance of the many ways that cultures have of running themselves is a good idea. However, in this case I think the release of al-Badawi smells of good old-fashioned graft: which has its own rules, like 'an honest politician is one who, when bought, stays bought.'