[JURIST] Majid Khan [GlobalSecurity profile], a Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] prisoner who is linked with al Qaeda, pleaded guilty [text, PDF] on Wednesday to five terror charges including conspiracy, attempted murder and murder. Per his plea bargain, Khan must testify against fellow “high value” prisoners who are alleged to have been involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks [JURIST backgrounder]. The list of detainees against whom Khan will testify includes Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [BBC profile], one of the alleged designers of the 9/11 attacks, and others who are also believed to have been involved. In return for his cooperation Khan will get a reduced sentence of up to 25 years in prison, rather than life in prison, which he previously faced. Khan stipulated [text, PDF] to aiding in the 2003 terror attacks in Jakarta, Indonesia, and conspiring to carry out other terrorist activities, including the attempted assassination of former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Khan is set to be sentenced in 2016, giving him time to testify at other military trials. This is the first agreement offered to a Guantanamo detainee that guarantees freedom in exchange for testimony.
Khan was charged with war crimes, including murder, attempted murder, spying and providing material support for terrorism. Before being transferred to Guantanamo in 2006, both Khan’s father and Khan’s lawyer [JURIST reports] claimed in 2007 that the detainee had been subject to “state-sanctioned” torture while being held in secret CIA prisons. Khan was denied access to civilian legal counsel [JURIST report] by a federal judge in 2006. Gitanjali Gutierrez, a Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative Attorney from the Center for Constitutional Rights [official website] criticized the US government [JURIST comment] in 2006 for prohibiting Kahn from sharing certain classified information with his counsel. Khan was captured in Pakistan in March 2003 and held in CIA prisons until he and 13 other high-profile detainees, including Sheikh Mohammed, were transferred to the US prison [DNI profiles, PDF; BBC profiles] at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.