[JURIST] Alleged al Qaeda propagandist Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman al Bahlul [DOD materials] went on trial Monday before a military commission at the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] prison. Al Bahlul is only the second detainee to go on trial in Guantanamo since it opened in 2002. He attended the initial proceeding Monday, but sat in silence. His appointed military attorney, Air Force Maj. David Frakt, asked to be removed from the case as per his client's request, but the judge, Air Force Col. Ronald Gregory, refused. Frakt then refused to participate further, boycotting alongside al Bahlul. Gregory said that the burden would lie with the prosecution to prove al Bahlul's guilt. AP has more.
The 39-year-old Yemeni prisoner vowed earlier this year to boycott proceedings against him, saying he would attend only when a verdict was handed down or he was sentenced. Al Bahlul, alleged to have been Osama bin Laden's personal assistant and media secretary, was charged [JURIST report] in February with conspiracy, solicitation to commit murder and attacks on civilians, and providing material support for terrorism. He is accused of 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. If convicted, he could receive a sentence of up to life imprisonment.