Convening authority throws out conviction of Noor Uthman Mohammed
Convening authority throws out conviction of Noor Uthman Mohammed

[JURIST] The convening authority for the Office of Military Commissions [official website] retired Marine Major General Vaughn A. Ary on Friday overturned the terror conviction against Sudanese national Noor Uthman Muhammed [charge sheet, PDF] and dismissed the charges against him [press release]. Muhammed was accused of working as a weapons instructor and logistician [JURIST report] in Afghanistan, and pled guilty [press release] to charges of providing material support for terrorism and conspiracy to provide material support for terrorism in February 2011. The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit [official website] ruled in two subsequent, unrelated cases that trials for terrorist detainees should not be conducted by military commission [Courthouse News Service report; Bahlul v. US, PDF; Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, text] unless the crime was recognized as a war crime at the time it was committed. The DC Circuit decisions, binding on military commissions, required the convening authority to dismiss the findings and sentence against Muhammed.

Muhammed was captured in Pakistan in 2002, and charged at Guantanamo Bay under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [text, PDF]. Prosecutors for the US Department of Defense [official website] charged Muhammed [JURIST report] in 2008 based on allegations that he conspired with various al Qaeda [JURIST news archive] leaders and ran a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2000. The military commission sentenced Mohammed to 14 years confinement [PDF] in February 2011 after he pled guilty. Muhammed was repatriated from Guantanamo Bay to Sudan [Reuters report] in December 2013.