[JURIST] The US Department of Defense announced Wednesday that the Chief Prosecutor for Military Commissions [official websites] has filed terrorism charges [press release] against a Saudi Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] prisoner accused of plotting with al Qaeda to blow up oil tankers near Yemen. The detainee, Ahmed al Darbi, has been accused of six offenses [Reuters report] under the Military Commissions Act of 2009 [text], including conspiracy, aiding and abetting attacks on civilians, and aiding and abetting terrorism based on his former work as a weapons instructor, contact with Osama bin Laden, and support of bombing civilian oil tankers. According to the statement released by the Pentagon:
These sworn charges allege that al Darbi joined a terrorist conspiracy with al Qaeda by the year 1997. In furtherance of this conspiracy, al Darbi is alleged to have attended the Khalden training camp in Afghanistan, to have received personal permission from Usama bin Laden to train at al Qaeda’s Jihad Wahl training camp, and to have worked as a weapons instructor at al Qaeda’s al Farouq training camp, both in Afghanistan. From approximately 2000 through 2002, al Darbi is also alleged to have committed multiple overt acts in support of a plot to bomb civilian oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and off the coast of Yemen.
Al Darbi’s lawyer has yet to comment on the charges, though his client could face up to life in prison if convicted.
Al Darbi dodged similar charges in 2009 when the Obama administration contemplated closing Guantanamo Bay. Those proceedings were delayed several times before being dismissed, but not before al Darbi announced his plan to boycott [JURIST reports] the military commission as a “sham” and a “crime against humanity.” The original two charges were filed in 2008 [JURIST report] after it was alleged that the Saudi detainee had formerly conspired in support of terrorism. Al Darbi received his first infamous attention in 2007 when the Department of Defense revealed that he is the brother-in-law [JURIST report] of Khalid al Mihdar, a 9/11 hijacker. Al Darbi was captured in Azerbaijan in 2002.