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Suspect’s Father Pushes Bomb Trial

May 14, 2001

SAN’A, Yemen (AP) _ The chief suspect in last year’s bombing of a U.S. ship in a Yemeni port should be released or put on trial, after some seven months in detention, the suspect’s father said Monday.

Muhammad al-Badawi said his family asked the Yemen Human Rights Organization in a letter two weeks ago to press the government to move ahead with the case of his son, Jamal al-Badawi, and dozens of others held in the bombing. Al-Badawi has been held since October.

``We asked that if there is an offense, put him on trial. If there is no offense, we ask that he be set free. If they put him on trial, then we can see if he is guilty or innocent,″ Muhammad al-Badawi told The Associated Press.

Muhammad al-Badawi said he believes his son Jamal is innocent of any role in the Oct. 12 bombing of the USS Cole in Aden harbor that killed 17 American sailors and injured 39 others.

``When the political security officer asked him to come for questioning, he went without any fear,″ Muhammad al-Badawi said.

Officials have said they are still collecting evidence and arresting suspects in the bombing and don’t want to bring cases to trial prematurely.

Jamal al-Badawi, 37, allegedly helped buy the boat used by the two suicide bombers.

In the letter to the Aden-based human rights group, al-Badawi’s family asked that he be moved from solitary confinement to a regular prison cell because he is suffering from depression.

A spokesman for the human rights group said the letter has been relayed to the government.

Update hourly