Ex-Maryland man who joined al-Qaida sentenced at Guantanamo

A army jury imposed a sentence of 26 years Friday on a former Maryland man who admitted becoming a member of al-Qaida and has been held on the Guantanamo Bay detention centre. However below a plea deal, the person might be launched as quickly as subsequent 12 months due to his cooperation with U.S. authorities.

The sentencing of Majid Khan is the fruits of the primary trial by army fee for one of many 14 so-called high-value detainees who have been despatched to the U.S. naval base in Cuba in 2006 after being held in a clandestine community of abroad CIA detention services and subjected to the cruel interrogation program developed in response to the 9/11 assaults.

Khan, a 41-year-old citizen of Pakistan who got here to the U.S. within the Nineteen Nineties and graduated from highschool close to Baltimore, earlier pleaded responsible to battle crimes costs that included conspiracy and homicide for his involvement in al-Qaida plots such because the lethal bombing of the J.W. Marriott lodge in Jakarta, Indonesia, in August 2003.

He apologized for his actions, which included planning al-Qaida assaults within the U.S. after 9/11 and a failed plot to kill former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf. Throughout a two-hour assertion to jurors on Thursday, he mentioned: “I did all of it, no excuse. And I’m very sorry to everybody I’ve harm.”

The jury of eight army officers was required to succeed in a sentence of 25 to 40 years. Jurors heard of Khan’s in depth cooperation with U.S. authorities following his responsible plea and heard the assertion from the prisoner that additionally described his brutal CIA interrogation and captivity within the three years earlier than he got here to Guantanamo.

Along with the sentence, the jury foreman mentioned seven of the eight jurors had drafted a letter to Pentagon authorized authorities recommending clemency for the defendant, which is an choice below the army fee authorized system.

A pretrial settlement means he might be launched as early as February, at which level he could be resettled in an as-yet to be decided third nation. He can not return to Pakistan.

Jurors weren’t instructed concerning the pretrial settlement, which requires a Pentagon authorized official referred to as a convening authority to chop his sentence to not more than 11 years due to his cooperation. He would even be given credit score for among the time he has already spent in custody.

Will probably be as much as the Biden administration, which is working to shut the detention middle that now holds 39 males, to discover a nation prepared to just accept Khan for resettlement alongside along with his spouse and the daughter who was born after he was captured in Pakistan.

Wells Dixon, a lawyer for the Heart for Constitutional Rights who was a part of the defence workforce, mentioned he anticipated Khan’s sentence to be accomplished in February. He mentioned Khan’s workforce seems ahead to working with the Biden administration to make sure “he has the mandatory help to permit him to maneuver on along with his life and be a constructive, contributing member of society.”

Regardless of the pretrial settlement, the prosecution urged the jury to suggest a sentence on the increased finish of the vary because the defence urged jurors to think about Khan’s cooperation, contrition and the brutal situations of his captivity.

“Because the fee of those crimes, Majid is a unique particular person,” mentioned U.S. military Maj. Michael Lyness, a army defence legal professional. “Majid Khan is reformed and deserving of your mercy.”

U.S. military Col. Walter Foster, the lead prosecutor, sought to forged doubt on Khan’s story of being led astray by radical Islam as a younger man. He conceded the prisoner had additionally skilled “extraordinarily tough therapy” by the hands of the CIA, however pivoted to remind the court docket of the 11 folks killed within the Marriott bombing.

“He’s nonetheless alive and with us right this moment, a luxurious that the lifeless and victims of the J.W. Marriott bombing don’t have,” Foster mentioned.

Khan’s cooperation is anticipated to assist with different battle crimes circumstances at Guantanamo, one involving 5 males held there who’re charged with planning and aiding the Sept. 11, 2001, assaults. Such circumstances have been slowed down for years within the pretrial stage on the base and change into one of many obstacles to closing the detention centre.

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