And what challenges will he and four other men face with an impending extradition to the United States?
Khalid al-Fawwaz is the least known of the five prisoners facing extradition to the US but has served the most time – 14 years without trial.
When I met Khalid Al-Fawwaz at HMP Wood Hill in November 2001, I was struck by his courtesy, gentleness and quiet consideration. He had been imprisoned awaiting extradition to the US for three years, since September 1998, and had been in solitary confinement since September 11, just over two months ago. At that stage he was finding it a pleasant rest from the work he did in prison – mentoring, acting as a listener for suicidal prisoners, helping with translations, forms and negotiating prison life, sitting on prisoner-staff committees.
That was eleven years ago. Khalid Al-Fawwaz is still in prison awaiting extradition – he has spent fourteen years in prison, the sort of sentence someone might serve for murder. He is there on the anonymous evidence of a ‘supergrass’ who links him with the US embassy bombings of 1998, although he had lived in London for four years by then. In our conversation he said he and bin Laden had worked together to overthrow the repressive Saudi regime, but that they split in 1996 when bin Laden chose terrorism over organising for popular revolt. Khalid Al-Fawwaz would have supported the Arab Spring, not Al Qaeda or bombings.