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 underneath a plea deal, the person could possibly be launched as quickly as subsequent yr 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 prices 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 damage.”

The jury of eight army officers was required to succeed in a sentence of 25 to 40 years. Jurors heard of Khan’s intensive cooperation with U.S. authorities following his responsible plea and heard a two-hour assertion from the prisoner describing 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 to the defendant, which is an possibility underneath the army fee authorized system.

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

Jurors weren’t instructed in regards to the pretrial settlement, which requires a Pentagon authorized official often called 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.

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

“Because the fee of those crimes, Majid is a special particular person,” mentioned U.S. military Maj. Michael Lyness, a 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 courtroom of the 11 individuals killed within the Marriott bombing.

“He’s nonetheless alive and with us as we speak, 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 grow to be one of many obstacles to closing the detention enter.

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