A Qatari man declared an enemy combatant by the Bush administration following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and imprisoned over links to Al Qaeda has returned home to the Gulf nation after quietly being released by U.S. authorities.
Ali al-Marri was arrested in December 2001 while attending graduate school in central Illinois. He was held without charge for nearly six years in a U.S. Navy brig in South Carolina before eventually pleading guilty and receiving a sentence of just over eight years behind bars.
Al-Marri’s nephew, Saleh Garallah Kahlah al-Marri, said Sunday that his uncle returned home to the small energy-rich country the previous evening and was greeted by representatives from the Qatari interior and foreign ministries.
“He is in high spirits,” Saleh al-Marri said. The nephew thanked Qatari officials for their help in getting al-Marri back home, saying they made “tremendous efforts” to do so.
Al-Marri will not be making comments to the media for now because “we want to give him an opportunity to reintegrate into society,” the nephew added.
Qatari officials could not immediately be reached on al-Marri’s release. The U.S. Embassy in Doha had no comment.
“We were advised by the Qatar embassy that Ali has arrived home. His family has confirmed his arrival,” al-Marri’s defense attorney, Andrew J. Savage, said in a brief email.
Read more: FOX News