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DOD lays new charges against two more Guantanamo detainees

[JURIST] The US Department of Defense [official website] announced Friday that two more Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees have been charged with war crimes. Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman al Bahlul [DOD press release], alleged to be Osama bin Laden's personal assistant and media secretary, is charged [charge sheet] with conspiracy, solicitation to commit murder and attacks on civilians, and providing material support for terrorism. He is accused of, among other things, researching the financial impact of the 9/11 attacks and releasing the "martyr wills" of 9/11 hijackers Muhammed Atta and Ziad al Jarrah as propaganda videos. Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi [DOD press release], suspected of being Osama bin Laden's body guard and driver, is charged [charge sheet] with conspiracy to target and attack civilians and providing material support for terrorism. Al Qosi is suspected of helping bin Laden and his family escape to the Tora Bora mountains in Afghanistan in the wake of the attacks. Both men had previously been charged [JURIST report] in 2004 and were initially expected to face military commissions [DOD materials] at Guantanamo Bay convened by the Bush administration, but those charges were dropped after the Supreme Court found the initial commissions to be in violation of military law and the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials] in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [Duke Law case backgrounder; JURIST report]. The new charges have been brought under the 2006 Military Commissions Act (MCA) [PDF text].

The separate trials are expected to raise allegations by both defendants of prisoner abuse and torture in US detention centers. Al Qosi claims that he was draped in an Israeli flag, an act meant to humiliate him during interrogations, while al Bahlul's previous attorney told a military commission judge that his client had been tortured. The US military says it eventually hopes to try as many as 80 Guantanamo detainees for war crimes; on Saturday, the New York Times reported that a major prosecution of up to six more Guantanamo detainees, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, is in the works. Prior to Friday, only four had been formally charged [JURIST report] under the MCA. AP has more.

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