He’d “escaped” from prison twice before, don’tcha know, once in April 2003 and again in February 2006. I predicted last summer that he’d “escape” a third time, doubtless with the help of his “captors.” And so he has, basically.

Except this time, he has the government’s blessing.

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.

The Interior Ministry said earlier that al-Badawi voluntarily gave himself up to police, but media reports said tribal chiefs mediated his surrender after he renounced terrorism and pledged allegiance to the Yemeni leader…

Yemen does not have a law that criminalizes Jihad, or holy war. Detainees remain in prison until they either renounce their commitment to Jihad or are released under pressure from family and human rights groups.

Since the suicide attack in July that killed eight Spanish tourists visiting an ancient Yemeni temple, President Saleh has said in several interviews with local papers that al Qaeda had reached a truce with the government.

This is the second example in five days of the Yemeni government releasing someone who’s taken up arms against the United States in the name of Islam. Saudi Arabia and Iran take a lot of much deserved abuse in the blogosphere but Yemen, for whatever reason, flies almost completely under the radar even while it routinely opens its cages to let animals like this roam free. The stark exception to that is Jane at the Jawa Report, who writes about the country regularly. Spend some time with this post, especially the section about the Cole bombers being tipped off, to get a sense of how rancid is the complicity between the regime and its jihadist subjects. Springing them from prison via “escapes” is the least of it. Quote: “In an interview after he defected to the UK, Commander Ahmed Al-Hassani said that President Saleh knew in advance of the bombing. Al-Hassani pointed out that the night before the bombing, President Saleh sent his Interior Minister and Political Security Minister from the capital Sana’a to Aden where the USS Cole was bombed hours later.”