US military jury members sign letter urging clemency in terrorism case
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US military jury members sign letter urging clemency in terrorism case

Seven US military jury members signed a letter urging clemency for convicted terrorist Majid Khan, rebuking Khan’s alleged mistreatment by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The letter, which was signed Friday, came after a 26-year sentence was handed down by the military jury. Khan, formerly a resident of Baltimore, was convicted of war crimes in connection with the 2003 bombing of the Marriot hotel in Jakarta.

The trial has been surrounded by controversy since Khan was sent to Guantanamo Bay in 2006. Khan alleged that US officials resorted to physical, psychological, and sexual abuse to attempt to gain information during his detainment. He alleged that, despite his cooperation with officials, the abuse was unrelenting.

The letter from the seven military jury panel members recognized that “Mr. Khan committed serious crimes.” Nonetheless, the panel gave three justifications for granting clemency. The first justification highlighted that Khan was “held without the basic due process” under the US Constitution. Although he is not technically entitled to rights under the US Constitution as an “alien unprivileged enemy belligerent,” the letter calls the situation an “affront to American values and concepts of justice.”

The second justification highlighted the torture Khan allegedly endured, calling it “closer to torture performed by the most abusive regimes in modern history.” The panel stated that much of the abuse had “no practical value” and “should be a source of shame for the U.S. government.” Lastly, the third justification maintained that Khan was young and dealing with the loss of his mother at the time of the crimes. At age 41, they stated, he was “not a threat for future extremism.”

Lawyers in his defense team expect that Khan could be released as early as February 2022. Though the US will have to find a country to accept Khan for resettlement, his cooperation with officials in other prosecutions has aided greatly in a potential early release.