Gulf News- - An alleged Al Qaida number two in Yemen may be freed in December, despite his original jail term being confirmed yesterday by a Yemen court of appeal.
Chaired by Judge Saeed Al Qata'a, the appeal section of the State Security Court upheld the 37-month sentence, which was issued on May 3 against Mohammad Hamdi Al Ahdal. He was accused of raising funds for Al Qaida in Yemen.
Al Ahdal now has about two months in prison. The verdict stipulated three years and one month in jail from the date of the arrest.
Al Ahdal was arrested in November 2003 in Sanaa.
For Ghaleb Al Zaydi, who was accused of sheltering Al Ahdal in his house in Marib, eastern Yemen, the court said the period he spent in prison was enough punishment. When the trial started earlier this year, the prosecutor accused Al Ahdal, also known as Abu Asem Al Makki, of forming an armed gang, financing Al Qaida militants and being involved in the deaths of 18 Yemeni soldiers.
While denying the other charges, the 35-year-old Al Ahdal confessed to raising money for Al Qaida. The other charges, he said, he was forced to confess while in solitary confinement for seven months.
He confessed to raising money for families of what he called "mujahideen" or jihadis. "I collected 1.06 million Saudi riyals (about Dh1.04 million) from Saudi businessmen during four years, and I have given all of it to women and children of those martyrs who were killed in the 1994 civil war of Yemen, the wars in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Herzegovina, and also to families of Yemenis detained in Guantanamo and political prisoners in Yemen," he had said.
The prosecutor had told the court Al Ahdal had received around $50,000 (about Dh183,700) from Osama Bin Laden to buy arms and explosives.