UAE releases suspected Al Qaeda militant of Bahraini origin

Emirati authorities release a terror suspect linked with Al Qaeda

Manama, Bahrain- The United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities released on Thursday a terror suspect of Bahraini origin, Khalil Janahi.

For his family in Bahrain, the news was something they were waiting to hear since his arrest in 2007.

“I could not believe when he called us and spoke with me from my father’s house in UAE. He said he was a free man now,” Umm Ebrahim, Janahi’s sister said after her brother’s release.

Janahi is of Bahraini origin and holds a UAE passport. His brother, sister and wife hold Bahraini passports. He was studying religious studies in Riyadh and was arrested in 2007 as one of the 172 suspected Al Qaeda militants. The Saudi Interior Ministry had said in a statement a group of 172 extremists had trained in a “neighbouring” country and planned to storm Saudi prisons to free militants and attack oil refineries and public figures. In November last, he was handed over by the Saudi officials to the UAE authorities to serve his time.

Khalil Janahi was arrested in 2007 along with 172 militants in Saudi Arabia

“He often used to come and tell us that his friends used to talk about radical issues. He was only vocal but never did anything that is against the law. He was innocent and is like any other Muslim who practices Islam,” the sister stressed.

Ebrahim left on Thursday to Dubai to meet her brother. But said was not sure if you could return to Bahrain.

“I don’t think he will be given permission to travel to Bahrain. But we are going to meet him at my father’s house this weekend,” the overjoyed sister said.

During his detention without trial in Saudi Arabia, Janahi’s father suffered a stroke and was not informed about his arrest. Umm Ebrahim said that in May last year; they conducted a short wedding ceremony inside the Al Hair prison in Saudi.

Several political and human rights group such as National Justice Movement (NJM) and the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS) were following up the high profile case. The lobby groups had sent appeals to Saudi and UAE governments to take appropriate steps for securing the release of Janahi.

“I have been informed by the family that Janahi was released by the UAE authorities. This is a good sign as we were pushing for his release for over a year and launched several campaigns,” Abdulla Hashim, NJM Secretary General said. He further added they still had to speak to Janahi on what conditions he was released. Last month, NJM members had alleged that UAE authorities were using torture and other anti- human rights methods on the inmate of Bahraini origin.

Bahrain authorities in the past have foiled terror attacks. In December, 14 people were arrested and confessed of targeting nightclubs and commercial districts on the National Day (16 December). Security forces in the same year arrested Bahraini- Adel Saleh and Ali Mattar on charges of alleged funding of an outlawed terror group. Ali was later released on bail while Saleh was released last month as he was among the 178 prisoners pardoned recently by the Bahraini leadership.

Last year, the US Treasury Department froze bank accounts of two Bahrainis and a Qatari for providing financial and logistics support to Al Qaeda. The two Bahraini men are Adel Mohammed Mahmood Abdul Khaliq and Abdul Rahman Muhammad Jaffar Ali while the Qatari national is Khalifa Muhammad Turki al-Subaiy.

In 2007, Bahrain authorities reportedly arrested a group for allegedly running a sleeper cell planning to attack US targets. Some men were released later due to lack of substantial evidence while some were charged in absentia.

Bahrain is home to the US Navy Fifth fleet and shares its border with oil rich Saudi Arabia.