AL QAEDA

OCTOBER 19 2009 19:21h

Short career for young Qaeda man

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Released in 2007, he went through Saudi Arabia's vaunted terrorist rehabilitation programme.

Yousef al-Shehri was one of the first and youngest to be captured in Afghanistan and sent to the US detention centre in Guantanamo.

Over nearly six years there, the Saudi was taunted by women interrogators, and expected to die during a hunger strike.

Released in 2007, he went through Saudi Arabia's vaunted terrorist rehabilitation programme. But after graduating, he turned his back and headed to Yemen to join Al-Qaeda there.

Early one morning last week, wearing a suicide vest under a woman's black abaya, he and two others were caught making their way north from near the Yemen border. In a shootout with security forces, Shehri and a companion were killed.

Inside their black SUV, investigators found more suicide bomb vests, explosives, grenades, and guns for use in attacks against still-unknown targets. -.--.-C-4

Short career for Shehri

It was a short career for Shehri.

Born September 8, 1985 in Riyadh, according to US records -- some Saudi officials say he was much older -- at just 15 he was drawn to join the Taliban fight against the Afghan Northern Alliance in early 2001.

Making his way into Afghanistan, Guantanamo records say, he received only one day of training "with grenades and the Kalashnikov rifle" at a "terrorist training camp."

At the front in Kunduz, he spent a few months before his capture, according to US records, simply burying the bodies of fallen fighters.

Nevertheless, he was held as dangerous, in part because his brother Saad was a known Al-Qaeda operative. His experience at Guantanamo likely gave him little motivation for giving up jihad.

According to accounts from FBI agents, he was harassed by women interrogators who sprayed him with perfume and put dresses on him.

In 2005, Shehri joined a hunger strike for better conditions, and his weight plummeted from 68 kilograms (150 pounds) to 44 kilograms (97 pounds) between April and July 2005, according to Guantanamo records.

Shehri could not walk, had lost some vision and was vomiting every day

He gave up the strike in July, his lawyer Julia Tarver later wrote in court testimony, on promises that conditions would be improved and his release would come within three weeks.

When released finally in 2007, he was flown to Saudi Arabia and put through the six-month rehabilitation programme
But nothing happened, and in mid-August, he stopped eating again. When she visited him on October 1, Tarver said, Shehri could not walk, had lost some vision and was vomiting every day.

- He has an absolute determination to die, and feels greatly betrayed by the false promises given to him - she wrote.

When released finally in 2007, he was flown to Saudi Arabia and put through the six-month rehabilitation programme. He graduated and then married the sister of Saeed al-Shehri, also released from Guantanamo.

But months later, both he and Saeed disappeared, two of only 11 Guantanamo returnees who rejoined the Qaeda fight after rehab.

They resurfaced early this year with the newly constituted Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, which was plotting attacks against the Saudi government.