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Military commission charges confirmed against Guantanamo detainee al Bahlul

[JURIST] The US Department of Defense said Tuesday that three charges have been referred [press release; charges sheet, PDF] against Yemeni Guantanamo Bay detainee Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman al Bahlul for his alleged ties to al Qaeda. Al Bahlul [DOD materials] is accused of serving as "personal and media director" for Osama bin Laden and is charged with conspiracy and solicitation to commit murder, destruction of property, terrorism, and providing support to terrorism. According to the DOD:

The charges allege that in about February of 1999, al Bahlul traveled to Afghanistan to attend military-type training and to join al Qaeda. Once a member of Al Qaeda, he allegedly served as the personal director and media director of Usama bin Laden. The charge sheet states al Bahlul created a propaganda video titled "The Destruction of the American Destroyer U.S.S. Cole," proposed propaganda declarations styled as martyr wills for Sept. 11 hijackers Mohammed Atta and Ziad al Jarrah, researched the economic effects of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States for Usama bin Laden, and operated Al Qaeda's media communication equipment. The charges also allege al Bahlul armed himself to protect and prevent the capture of Usama bin Laden.
The case will now proceed to military commission, where, if convicted, al Bahlul could receive a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The DOD charged [JURIST report] al Bahlul in February, along with Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi [DOD press release], accused of being bin Laden's body guard and driver. Al Qosi is charged [charge sheet, PDF] with conspiracy to target and attack civilians and providing material support for terrorism. 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. Reuters has more.

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