USA — Bin Laden Aide Pleads Guilty in Military Commission

WASHINGTON, July 7, 2010 — A Sudanese man plead­ed guilty in a mil­i­tary com­mis­sion today to con­spir­a­cy and pro­vid­ing mate­r­i­al sup­port to al-Qai­da in the five years lead­ing up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against the Unit­ed States.

Ibrahim Ahmed Mah­moud al Qosi, 50, plead­ed guilty at Naval Sta­tion Guan­tanamo Bay, Cuba, to two charges for his sup­port to al-Qai­da and for con­spir­ing to com­mit ter­ror­ism from August 1996 until his cap­ture in Decem­ber 2001.

The con­vic­tion marks the first case pros­e­cut­ed under the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion and the Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sions Act of 2009, which the pres­i­dent signed in Octo­ber. The new law changed sev­er­al areas of the 2006 Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sions Act:

— While the 2006 Act pro­hib­it­ed the use of any state­ments obtained by tor­ture, the new law does not dis­tin­guish between state­ments tak­en pri­or to pas­sage of the 2005 Detainee Treat­ment Act and those tak­en after;

— The 2009 Act places the bur­den of prov­ing whether hearsay state­ments are admis­si­ble on the par­ty who intends to use the state­ments;

— The accused is now enti­tled to request indi­vid­ual mil­i­tary coun­sel and to receive addi­tion­al coun­sel if the charges car­ry a pos­si­ble death penal­ty;

— The 2009 Act adds an addi­tion­al appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Wash­ing­ton, D.C., Cir­cuit; and

— The 2009 Act replaces the term “unlaw­ful com­bat­ants” with “unpriv­i­leged bel­liger­ents.”

The plea pro­vid­ed a win­dow into the move­ments of al-Qai­da under Osama bin Laden’s lead­er­ship lead­ing up to the 9/11 attacks. Al Qosi served as a body­guard and dri­ver for bin Laden from 1996 to 2001, accord­ing to com­mis­sion doc­u­ments. He lived with bin Laden and oth­er al-Qai­da mem­bers at a com­pound near Jalal­abad, Afghanistan, from 1996 to 1998 before he and the rest of the group relo­cat­ed to Kan­da­har.

Through­out that time, al Qosi trav­eled with oth­er mem­bers from Kan­da­har to “the front” near the Afghan cap­i­tal of Kab­ul, where he fought in sup­port of al-Qai­da as part of a mor­tar crew.

About two weeks before 9/11, al Qosi and oth­ers fol­lowed bin Laden’s orders to evac­u­ate the Kan­da­har com­pound. Armed with AK-47 assault rifles, al Qosi and oth­ers trav­eled in a con­voy with bin Laden and camped between Kab­ul, Khost and Jalal­abad. From Octo­ber through Decem­ber of 2001, al Qosi and oth­ers, armed with AK-47s, trav­eled with bin Laden to the moun­tain­ous Tora Bora area along the Afghanistan-Pak­istan bor­der.

In the first two weeks of Decem­ber 2001, al Qosi and oth­ers trav­eled away from bin Laden in Tora Bora, where they came under fire by U.S. forces and sub­se­quent­ly were cap­tured. The commission’s pre­sid­ing mil­i­tary judge, Air Force Lt. Col. Nan­cy Paul, ques­tioned al Qosi as to whether he under­stood the charges against him and if his plea was vol­un­tary. Al Qosi answered in the affir­ma­tive, and Paul accept­ed the plea.

Al Qosi was rep­re­sent­ed by a team of three defense attor­neys at no cost to him, mil­i­tary offi­cials said.

Navy Capt. David C. Igle­sias, an offi­cial spokesman in the case and a com­mis­sion pros­e­cu­tor for two years, said Paul was “metic­u­lous” in ques­tion­ing al Qosi dur­ing the three-hour hear­ing, “and he passed with fly­ing col­ors.”

Igle­sias, who also has served as a mil­i­tary defense attor­ney and state and fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor, said Paul “took much more time than a state or fed­er­al judge would take.”

Al Qosi is the fourth per­son pros­e­cut­ed under the mil­i­tary com­mis­sions. Al Qosi is the sec­ond to plead guilty; two oth­ers were con­vict­ed in tri­als.

Al Qosi faces a max­i­mum penal­ty of life in prison on the two charges, Igle­sias said. His sen­tence will be deter­mined by 12 mil­i­tary offi­cers as part of the com­mis­sion at an Aug. 9 sen­tenc­ing hear­ing, he said.

Al Qosi will remain at Guan­tanamo Bay for the time being, Igle­sias said, and it is not yet known where he will serve out his sen­tence. “That prob­a­bly will be deter­mined at the high­est lev­els of gov­ern­ment,” he said.

Igle­sias said today’s pro­ceed­ing “rep­re­sents progress in our country’s ongo­ing strug­gle against ter­ror­ism.”

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →