[JURIST] American-educated Saudi and alleged al Qaeda suspect Ghassan Abdullah al Sharbi [Wikipedia profile] denied before a pre-trial military commission hearing at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] Thursday that he was guilty of war crimes [DOD charge sheet, PDF], but said he was "willing to pay the price" – possibly decades in jail – for admittedly fighting against the United States. Sharbi asked to represent himself before the tribunal and declined the assistance of an appointed military defense lawyer, in addition to rejecting an offer of civilian legal aid. The hearing's presiding officer subsequently set a May 17 hearing to address the issue of Sharbi's counsel's refusal to stay on to aid an unwilling client. Sharbi graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University [university website] in Arizona before travelling to Afghanistan where he allegedly met Osama bin Laden at a training camp in July 2001.
Two other Guantanamo detainees [US DOD list] who reportedly conspired with al Sharbi in an al Qaeda bombing plot, Sufyian Barhoumi [DOD charge sheet, PDF] and Jabran Said bin al Qahtani [Wikipedia profile], have also faced pre-trial hearings at Guantanamo Bay this week. Barhoumi is protesting [JURIST report] his transfer to the maximum security Camp Five section of the Guantanamo Bay base, following his removal from Camp Four [DOD photo], a more desirable communal living unit for co-operative detainees. Reuters has more.