Qatari released after 14 years in US prison

Qatari released after 14 years in US prison
Al-Marri was serving a 15-year sentence in the US charged with being an "enemy combatant" and claims to have been tortured during his detention.
2 min read
18 January, 2015
Marri was initially arrested for fraud in 2001 [Getty]
A Qatari held in a US prison since the 11 September 2001 attacks has finally been released. His lawyers says the man, who has alwys protested his innocence, had suffered torture. 

Ali bin Kahla al-Marri  arrived in Doha on Saturday night according to his family.

     Guards would threaten him with violence and death.
He had been serving a 15-year sentence after pleading guilty in 2009 to providing material support for a terrorist organisation. He was classified as an "enemy combatant" by the US.

However al-Marris says the "confession" was extracted under torture. 

In September 2001, al-Marri entered the US with his wife and five children to study for an MA at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. The FBI arrested him three months later and charged him with credit card fraud and possession of a fake ID.

Al-Marri protested his innocence and contested the legality of his arrest. However, on 23 June 2003, the evening prior to a hearing for his arrest and less than a month before his trial, US president George W. Bush announced he was an al-Qaeda agent and an enemy of the state. Al-Marri was sent to a naval prison in South Carolina.

In the first six months of his detention, the Qatari was tortured, according to his lawyer. Guards would threaten him with violence and death, and the temperature in his cell was frequently lowered to extremely cold conditions. For five years, he was not allowed to call his family.

Opposing his military detention, al-Marri requested a trial. The county court initially rejected his request, however the US Court of Appeals revoked the decision.

In July 2008, the Court of Appeals voted in favour of the decision that under the authority to use military force, the president can indefinitely detain anyone in the US, even a US citizen, without charge, if the government has information they are planning terrorist attacks.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.