Yemen has set free one of the al-Qaida masterminds of the USS Cole bombing in 2000 that killed 17 American sailors, a senior security official said.
Jamal al-Badawi, who is wanted by the FBI, was convicted in 2004 of plotting, preparing and helping carry out the USS Cole bombing and received a death sentence that was commuted to 15 years in prison.
He and 22 others, mostly al-Qaida fighters, escaped from prison in 2004. But al-Badawi was granted his freedom after turning himself in 15 days ago and pledging loyalty to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the official said Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The official said police were told by the government to "stop all previous orders concerning measures adopted against al-Badawi." Witnesses told The Associated Press that al-Badawi was receiving well-wishers at his home in the al-Buraika district in Aden.