Photos via Reem Al Harmi
A Qatari citizen who arrested by US authorities after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and detained for more than 13 years has reportedly been released after serving his sentence for conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda.
Ali bin Kahlah al-Marri, who had been classified as an “enemy combatant” by US prosecutors, was scheduled to be released from a maximum-security prison in Colorado today.
However, he was freed several days ahead of schedule and returned to Doha over the weekend, Al Jazeera reports.
His nephew, Saleh Kahla, was quoted by newswire AFP as saying al-Marri was warmly welcomed at Hamad International Airport by family and friends.
“Thank God his health and spirits are very excellent. His spirits were better than ours as we did not expect him to be in such good state,” he said.
Al-Marri was working in an environmental department for the Qatar government when he was sent to the US in 2001 for an educational training program, according to local lawyer Najeeb al-Nuaimi.
Al-Nuaimi did not represent al-Marri, but is familiar with the case and has in the past represented many individuals arrested on international terrorism-related charges, including al-Marri’s brother, who was released from Guantanamo Bay several years ago.
According to the FBI, al-Marri was pulled over for a traffic infraction.
A transcript of an interview with Art Cummings, the executive assistant director of the FBI’s national security branch, said a police officer took al-Marri back to his residence and observed a large amount of cash in a suitcase.
This apparently aroused suspicions and led to al-Marri eventually being arrested on charges related to credit card fraud as intelligence officers probed his links to the Sept. 11 conspirators, Cummings was quoted as saying.
He said a search of al-Marri’s computer revealed that he had done extensive research on various chemicals chemicals and poisons, including toxicity levels and where the items could be purchased.
In the following years, al-Marri bounced between civilian courts and military tribunals – spending years in custody without being formally charged – and eventually pled guilty in a federal court in 2009 to charges of supporting al-Qaeda.
The New York Times reported he admitted to having attended terrorist training camps from 1998 to 2001.
Speaking to Doha News, Al-Nuaimi said that al-Marri made the confession as part of a plea deal for eight years in prison, with some credit for the time he had already served in custody.
It included an admission that he agreed to follow instructions given to him from al Qaeda leaders.
According to human rights organization Cage Prisoners, al-Marri may have agreed to the plea because, as his lawyer said, “…he wanted to go home.”
The group alleges that during the first 17 months of his detention, prison guards would routinely turn off the water to al-Marri’s cell and lower the temperature to “extremely cold” levels without providing him with additional clothes or blankets.
In a statement complaining about his treatment, CAGE added:
“Al-Marri, a devout Muslim, complains that military officials have not permitted him to meet with a Muslim cleric, do not let him have a prayer mat and punish him if he follows his religion’s requirement to cover his head while he prays (he uses a shirt for this purpose). They do not tell him the direction of Mecca, so he does not know in which direction to pray; nor do they provide him with a clock, so he does not know when to pray.”
Al-Nuaimi noted that prior to 2001, many Gulf residents traveled to Afghanistan – which was then under Taliban rule – and visited al Qaeda members.
He said al-Marri had traveled regularly to Pakistan and likely slipped into Afghanistan, but was not a member of the organization.
“As a member, he would have received a life sentence,” al-Nuaimi told Doha News. “It was guilt by association.”
“Purposed” links or did you mean “purported”? If so the court found the links were clearly there. The legal issue was more about what you could do with someone in such circumstances. The legal academics have been arguing over it for all these years and probably will for many more.
Actually they started arguing over the principle during the American Civil War.
It should be purported, yes. Thanks for pointing that out.
So an editorial question.. What sort of evidence and how much would you require before you would just say “links” rather than “purported links”?
But is “purported” really the accurate word if he confessed and pled guilty? In the title shouldn’t you remove “over purposed/purported” and replace it with “for?”
It’s not even ‘purported’. He confessed and pled guilty. You could say ‘confessed’ or ‘admitted’ or ‘convicted’ in the headline. If he personally disassociates himself with the confession, then it could be ‘purported’.
As it stands, the headline is taking sides.
We went with purported due to what his lawyer and supporters said about him confessing just to get home.
Fair enough, but by that standard, then almost all of the headlines should have ‘purported’ or ‘alleged’ in it.
“…punish him if he follows his religion’s requirement to cover his head while he prays (he uses a shirt for this purpose)”
Um since when did muslim men HAVE to cover their heads while praying? lol…
seriously that’s what you took from this article?
It is recommended to cover. Please do not comment and put LOL if you don’t know!
Trust me theres a huge difference between requirement and recommended. LOL.
Yes I know. But you can not argue about religious preferences. It may be his personal requirement to follow the recommendation as closely as possible. Why is it difficult to let a person follow his religion even if he is in prison? Why don’t you please argue in favour of decency. Why everybody tries to justify torture these days?
And the State should follow/cater to the requirements of the religion or the incarcerated should follow the rules of the State?
Who said that the rules of the State is not to allow prayer? it is just the cruel person who is in charge in this case, who is bigoted, is not letting this person certain things at his will. As far as I know most prisons encourage people follow religion (whatever his/her religion is) because it has been related to keeping the discipline of the prison better.
Good point. No belts or shoelaces but a bit of prayer couldn’t hurt too much.
You do make a point, although the religious preferences do not necessarily qualify as “torture”. What I know is that when a muslim needs to pray and doesn’t have a prayer mat, he’s allowed to pray on the ground, and that if theres no water, he may do ablution from the floor as well. If he doesnt’ know the direction, that’s also acceptable.
As for the other accusations that CAGE made about the water and the cold, I am not 100% sure of how reliable this group is. For starters, they are incredibly biased in what they post, and their main objective is not human rights, but their main objective is to fight against the War on Terror. However, if these allegations are at all true, an investigation into the matter is probably being done already as we speak.
Putting all that aside, I don’t really sympathise much with someone who also has the religious preference to take interest in killing Westerners, or assisting in the terrorist attacks against them (remember that he confessed).
You would confess too my friend! I do not condone violence (if this guy was really up to it). But believe me whether we admit or not, the trust in the western judicial process is eroding away because of many instances like this. So it is better to fight for justice for ‘all’ than to be a victim of ‘partial’ justice later.
I really don’t know – these things are too shady for any degree of certainty.
ANYHOW, I just thought the idea of a man putting a shirt on his head to pray was slightly funny. Sorry for any offense this may have caused.
Please, don’t infringe on his freedom to express himself, if he finds it laugh worthy, then it is. Deal with it. You have been inappropriate and offensive. It would be best if you apologized for your behavior. You too Assiry, this is not a forum for such attitudes.
Erudite and concise, nicely done.
Erudite and concise – nicely done. You have done a fine job of expressing yourself.
Ok shove it
Mmmm, not my style. I’m sure that there are many who would be happy to oblige you though; after you indicate in which orifice you wish to have ‘it’ shoved.
All the Qatar bashing expats that regularly become detectives for trivial cases here ,will be silent here.
I’ve always been bothered by Qatar bashers and called them on it…but to call the Villagio case or the teacher stabbings (the most high profile cases that “detectives” have talked about) “trivial” i find very offensive. You should take it back.
I find both the US and Qatari justice systems very doubtful…
justice systems or legal systems?
My name is khan. And I’m not a terrorist.
Don’t you mean, ‘I am Al-Marri and I am a terrorist supporter”?
I doubt he is not. The biggest terrorist is still roaming freely.
You’re talking about Pervez Musharraf, right?
Or is it Sepp Blatter?
Oh good point, so many to choose from.
No. About anonymous.
Now I’m thoroughly confused, and it is more than just the double-negative.
Anonymous terrorists? Because they hack websites? You must have read another story then…..
With hard work and ambition you can achieve anything. Commit yourself and follow your dreams.
And thousands of credit card numbers and great big suitcase full of cash . . .
He was jailed for admitting his own guilt. This avoided a costly and lengthy trial that never happened, and prevented a proper defense from being mounted where actual evidence of any of the potential crimes listed above would have been produced. It is quite common the world over to create a charge of something in order to detain a person while police further an investigation into the charge they want to levy. Here we see the large amount of cash = something not right, so they choose credit card fraud, which is a dubious charge that takes little other than the cash itself to bring the charges on, and forces the person into the situation where they must now prove their innocence rather than being assumed innocent from the start. Meanwhile the FBI doing its investigation would go about building their case on him supporting terrorism. They dragged it out the legal limits for detention it seems before bullying the guy into submission. Whether he is guilty or not guilty – due process and adherence to the law is far more important than the desire of a couple FBI agents wanting to build a case or find some links. He was there on a visa and could have simply been sent home without being imprisoned. I would rather someone who knowingly supported the group be sent home than have the law bent and twisted to the government’s will. The later is the far greater crime, and one that extends a terrible precedent.
Being in possession of 1500+ credit card numbers (none of them yours) is a dubious charge?
I would think it would definitely raise a few suspicions…
Suspicions versus guilt are two very different things. Having possession of credit card numbers is not in and of it self a crime nor suspicious depending on the situation. People that do charitable fundraising for example often have thousands of such records, as do business owners, banks, retail establishments, and a whole host of other people. He could have been fundraising for a charitable cause, something that as you know is quite common in the culture. Should I thereby conclude anyone with information about someone else to include credit cards is guilt of a crime? If there was a crime for this he was not induced to plea for it nor were charges brought in a court of law, so yes, dubious.
I am also not saying he is guilty or innocent, just that since 2001 the US government has contorted and bent the law, used the Patriot Act (which was to be a temporary measure) to establish broad ranging snooping activities and data gathering, and to illegally detain people outside of the constitutionally guaranteed rights of citizens and noncitizens alike.
I would agree. For all I know he could have had a business and they could have been customer credit card numbers but I am not in the least bit surprised that when someone has been pulled up who has been pulled up before (DUI) that the police would look into a bit more. Add credit card numbers, chemical weapons plans and a suitcase full of unmarked non-sequential bills then in most countries you’re going to get in trouble. I have no idea what this guy did or didn’t do but unless you believe the whole thing was one great big conspiracy – possible but usually unlikely -some facts usually have some resonance. In this case he clearly seemed to get a bad deal when Bush and Co. snatched him away from the civil courts and put him in military detention but that is quite different to the court case the ACLU managed to get him in the civil environment. As far as I’m concerned guilty or innocent he’s done his time and he shouldn’t be persecuted any further.
Yeah, I tend to believe that he is a bad bad pup and that he was up to no good, the facts of the case are just too overwhelming. That being said, he got shafted and treated badly and the US disgraced itself from beginning to end in this case. It would be better for everyone I think if he never left Qatar ever again and had is actions and communications closely monitored for some time.
Yeah – If he didn’t like them before he’s not going to like them now..
No, but then he has had eleven years to work on macrame and popsicle stick lamp shades rather than dwelling on vengeance, so it should all be okay.
Actually, American law is complicated on this manner. If they weren’t his, possession of stolen property alone is a crime.
American law? I’d say that all law anywhere cast a very critical eye over the possession of 1,500 credit card numbers and suitcases full of cash. Certainly meets the ‘reasonable suspicion’ bar easily enough.
Firstly, why did the office insist on going to the guy’s house? That is a coercive tactic used by police to begin with, which means this started with deception. So American law, with a good lawyer, would have precluded anything in the apartment from being used as evidence. Something you are seeing happen in several cases going on there now. It certainly is suspicious, but I am only saying that people are afforded a due process under the law and since 9/11 that has been circumvented based on little more than someone’s hunches or thoughts about what is going on as opposed to actual criminal evidence. The government in the US knows this, which is why he was never brought to trial and only coerced. I can imagine that the prosecuting attorney basically said that the Patriot Act allows us to hold you indefinitely, so give me a plea deal and we can just put it to rest and you can get out. Due process was never carried out. Had it been, and done properly, who knows what would have come of it?
Deception is perfectly legal when used by peace officers, they know that, most citizens don’t. If Al-Marri invited the guy into his house he gave consent – it is very unlikely that a coercion defence would work. Your only words to a peace officer, unless you live in jurisdiction where you are required to give a name and address should be ” I do not consent to being detained, I do not consent to conversation, I do not consent to search. Am I free to go?” Say nothing more – ever. It is probable that Al-Marri didn’t do this.
Maybe they needed to tuck him in.
Depends on how the law enforcement agent comes to the knowledge, and they have to prove it is stolen not legitimately gained. The outline of what happened in the pulling over of the guy sounds a bit like this tactic… http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2014/09/08/they-fought-the-law-who-won/
Yeah, at no time in my reading of Al-Marri’s case did they mention the use of civil forfeiture laws. Unless you have seen it mentioned anywhere it is a leap of a assumption.
Only saying that is sounds like this kind of thing, to go from the car to the house…that is not standard procedure.
Actually, in and of itself, the mere possession of those credit card numbers is clearly reasonable grounds for arrest in most places – the arrest may or may not lead to charges, but that isn’t hte important thing. The arrest then leads to the perfectly legit search subsequent to arrest and wham bam, Bob’s your uncle, more suspicious stuff. I’d say from that the guys at the pointy end of the stick did it by the book, after that it got all screwed up.
How about the torture he has been put through? What if this has happened here to an expat? Boy I would have been the 101st to comment by now.
I would have thought it was pretty standard in some US prisons. Don’t they even execute some people?
so he was tortured until he admitted his guilt to go home. when people confess in qatar even without evidence of torture i see about 80 commenter’s condemning the supposed torture or doubting the confession authenticity. i wonder where are those commenter’s now that it happens to a qatari
Where did you get that from? I thought the ACLU got him out of the hands of the military and into a regular court and then it got all decided..
“The group alleges that during the first 17 months of his detention, prison guards would routinely turn off the water to al-Marri’s cell and lower the temperature to “extremely cold” levels without providing him with additional clothes or blankets.”
dehydration and extreme cold, held for years without charges or sentencing. sounds like something you would see in syria
or Salwa Road….
You’ve lost me. Wasn’t that when in US military captivity and then when removed from that he got a regular civilian trial? I’m confused.
You will always be confused! It is a known phenomenon. When you are out of excuses it is likely that you will feel ‘confused’ and then be on the ‘aggression’ :).
You’ve got the wrong person. Confusion for me usually leads to more confusion then eventually food and sleep.
5 star response, I love u who ever U are, no time for arguing, kill negativity with humor
so torture and held without charge is ok depending on which department does it?
I have no idea if he is guilty or not, but I will say that his treatment was better than how the UAE treats Qataris with ties to the brotherhood.
agreed…. what’s your point? saying my crap smells less bad than the other guys crap doesn’t mean my crap isn’t crap
It’s not my crap in either case that stinks. It’s just an observation.
i didnt say it was your crap, just merely pointing out the flaws of others doesnt not lesson ones own flaws. so saying treatment in A is worse than treatment in B is not a valid defence for B
I agree. But how am I defending either country’s actions? I’m just making what I find to be an observation about how countries treat Qataris accused of terrorist links.
glad you agree, if its not a defence i simply fail to see the point of that observation. as how UAE treats its prisoners is not relevant to this article/case
Who are you to say what is relevant? Maybe not to you, but it gives me context and, apparently, other posters. There aren’t a lot of Qatari’s in jail for links to terrorism. It called to mind the good doctor and his trials and alleged tribulations in the UAE. Simple as that. You seem to have an awfully big chip on your shoulder and ever ready to make assumptions about me and looking for an argument where there isn’t one.
To be honest, I am surprised he wasn’t treated worse in an effort to get information. My sense of the UAE case (and it’s only a perception) is that the doctor was given rough treatment out of a punishment rather than an attempt to get information.
so your entire point is”hay remember that guy in UAE whose got nothing to do with this, sure was something”….. ok
torture for information isnt useful as people will say anything when car batteries are hooked to their testicals or something. torture as punishment is well just evil and not an effective deterrent. all it does is make people sympathise with the person your torturing, honestly i see no practical use as to why anyone uses it
Of course torture can be effective. And effective torture is a little more nuanced than a car battery. It’s for that reason virtually every nation and culture has used it for thousands of years. Let’s not be naive and confuse repugnance with ineffectiveness.
Your comment above: ‘sounds like something you would see in syria’.
To paraphrase you: What’s this have to do with Syria? I simply fail to see the point of that observation. As how Syria treats its prisoners is not relevant to this article/case.
Tone down the hypocrisy.
i didnt say one was worse than the other, you did. simply said that this is the type of behaviour one would expect from a troubled nation. you can remove the syria reference and my point is still the same dehydration and extreme cold is torture. you made absolutely no point other than a pointless reference saying who you think is worse.
‘you can remove the syria reference and my point is still the same dehydration and extreme cold is torture’–I agree
‘i didnt say one was worse than the other, you did’–True, but worse or better is not why you criticized me. You criticized me for the comparison itself, after you made your own comparison. Admit it. The criticism was hypocritical, and now you are clutching as straws.
my criticism wasn’t for the comparison but for a pointless comparison. you can remove the syria reference and my point is still valid. remove your comparison to uae and there is actually no comment
I thought it was relevant for context and apparently others agree. There aren’t many Qataris imprisoned for such offenses. I really don’t get why you are being so sensitive. I stated a observation based on a real case. You offered a hypothetical.
also im not worked up but i suspect you are. as your actually going back to read and re read the entire thread and edit your comments. pretty sad actually
Not at all. You’re keeping me entertained while I wait for my flight. Sadly, the wifi connection at the airport sucks so it’s not always clear to me what I’ve posted.
You’re the one getting all huffy and feeling the need to get personal. Such attacks generally mean you’ve lost the argument, which was evident a while ago.
Deleting much of this thread for the same reason as before, redundancy.
Oh please, what rock have you been hiding under buddy? Only them dirty heathen Arabs torture, don’t you know that? Oh wait, scratch that, apparently that is outdated and Americans do torture.
Umm, on the postive front perhaps the American torturers and the Qatari torturers can share best practices with each other?
Yep, and only the Americans are racists.
Seriously though, I am pleased for the young nephew in the photos. He looks thrilled to have his uncle back.
Yep, never in my life encountered a racist Qatari.
They’re probably in the same place so many Qatari posters and/or Qatar apologists go when a Vilagio or Patterson article is posted.
‘According to human rights organization Cage Prisoners, al-Marri may have agreed to the plea because, as his lawyer said, “…he wanted to go home.”’
Yes, because if that is what his defense lawyer said, then it must be true.
If it is true, it’s appalling, but I’m not going to take a defense lawyer’s word for it.
maybe, maybe not point is if a defence lawyer said something like that about a person held in qatar i think you would feel different.
I don’t think you should make assumptions about me about what you assume my nationality and race. If you issues with someone other people’s comments take it up with them. If you have a direct response to my comment, do share. I’d be happy to engage in a discussion. But criticizing me for something you think that I might think is a bit ridiculous.
i didnt say anything about your nationality or race. i look forward to seeing what you have to say next time someone’s lawyer or representative says they were tortured for a confession somewhere in this region then.
You’re implying that I would react differently if it wasn’t a Qatari being accused or his lawyer standing up for him based on your assumption of who I am (when, in fact, you don’t know anything about me). How would you respond if I wrote that the only reason you are coming to this guy’s defense is because he’s Qatari, and that if he were from Nepal and confessed to this in Qatar you’d be ready to link him?
I don’t want to argue with you about this point (happy to on other points). If I do it, then feel free to call me out. Otherwise, your rant about posters being hypocrites for someone who is being one.
again i look forward to what you say next time there is a confession here amidst defence claims of torture
Again, if I post a hypocritical statement then call me out. But your the agitation over someone’s failure to post on a particular thread is ridiculous. I don’t post every day or even read Doha News on a daily basis. Again, focus on the actual comment rather than your assumptions about a person or his thoughts.
Deleting some of this thread bc it’s getting redundant.
Lack of understanding the difference between terrorism and small time crime makes people such as you make uneducated comments. Those who support and/or fund terrorism to kill thousands of innocent people deserves punishment.
It’s uneducated to say proof guilt before punishment?
You sir, need some education. Hop on your camel, go to Villagio, and get some D&G education fanny pack.
What a brilliant reply, it’s not stereo typical or racist at all. Really shows your level of education
I am glad that you have the required mental abilities to infer upon my level of education.
Hahaha, that reply would be impressive if I was 12
Are you?! Yallah, what are you doing here, kiddo?
It would have been quite fashionable to go to Afghanistan before 9/11, although they’re not really saying he did go are they, just inferring it could have happened by “slipping” across the border
Correct. They said he’d been to Pakistan.
He said a search of al-Marri’s computer revealed that he had done
extensive research on various chemicals chemicals and poisons, including
toxicity levels and where the items could be purchased.
“Thank God his health and spirits are very excellent. His spirits were
better than ours as we did not expect him to be in such good state,” he
Don’t know about anyone else, but I have never felt the urge to browse chemicals and poisons. Also the 2nd qoute, you would assume was from a family member, which doesn’t suggest, to me, someone who has been ‘tortured’ for 13 yrs.
You mean you haven’t found yourself looking for “best ways to mail anthrax and poison wells”? Damn…I better delete my browsing history. See, that’s why it’s best to not censor porn…people won’t have time for “other searches”.
It could be related to his work in the environment ministry.
Possibly, but when you take the totality of the evidence – illegal credit card numbers and suitcases of cash it seems very unlikely – and that’s what is important – the totality of the picture.
If he’s innocent he obviously has the means and the community support to try and reclaim 13 years stolen from his life. I would assume it will be his life struggle to try and get justice against the oppressors.
If not, the rest is all gar-gar.
With the amount of legitimate complaining that goes on here about the atrocity that are Qatar roadways, can we have a light-hearted moment and all laugh together about the fact that it all started (at least from the scope of this article) with being pulled over (something that doesn’t happen in Qatar) for a traffic infraction?
Pulled over again. There had apparently been others.
Speaking of which I saw a landcruiser with a massive aerial going at high speed that was actually pulled over by a cop car today. Beat that!
Are you sure he wasn’t just asking where he too could purchase an aerial?
“a police officer took al-Marri back to his residence and observed a large amount of cash in a suitcase.”
Perhaps he was simply a member of the World Cup committee 😉
Why the use of the word ‘purported’? He is convicted.
Human Rights in US?
Perhaps the US is simply following the guidance of the exemplary members of the UN Human Rights Committee, which includes Uganda, Algeria, Egypt and Israel.
US don’t have to follow any body, They have exemplary history of Human Rights conservation at Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo Bay.
The sad thing is that even with those and other problems they probably still rate a lot higher than a lot of countries in the and some of them would be in this region..