A former Al Qaeda operative and Guantanamo detainee has been freed from an American citizen and sent home to the gulf state of Qatar.
The Long War Journal has written an extensive report on Ali Saleh Kahlah al Marri, the former Al Qaeda militant who has left U.S. custody.
The U.S. has not yet released an official statement on the matter, but an Al Arabiya report stated that Al Marri’s release came as a result of a diplomatic agreement between the U.S. and Qatar. Additionally, Qatari media has asserted that he arrived in Doha over the weekend. AFP spoke with Marri’s nephew, who confirmed the reports that he had made his way to Qatar.
The Long War Journal reports that former Al Qaeda mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told Al Marri to “enter the United States no later than September 10, 2001” and await further orders. The FBI described Marri as an “Al Qaeda sleeper operative working on U.S. soil.”
Before his release, Al Marri had been in solitary confinement for years at the Navy Brig in Charleston, South Carolina.
Al Marri was reportedly received with a hero’s welcome once he touched down in Qatar. He was “greeted by representatives from the Qatari interior and foreign ministries” and is in “high spirits,” according to an account given to The Guardian by Al Marri’s nephew. Al Marri thanked the Qatari government for their “tremendous efforts in securing his release,” added the nephew.
Furthermore, the editor-in-chief of Qatar’s al-Arab news took to Twitter and exclaimed, “We thank Allah for his favor in returning Brother Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, who was detained by America.”
This is not the first time that Qatar has welcomed formerly-detained terrorists as heroes. In June, Qatar facilitated the exchange of five Taliban commanders for Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier who many alleged had been a deserter. Video surfaced of Qatari officials welcoming the Taliban jihadis as heroes.