Military Jury Sentences
al-Qaida Aide to Life in Prison
(VOA) A military
jury at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has sentenced
an al-Qaida operative to life in prison for
conspiracy, solicitation for murder,
and material support for terrorism.
announced Ali Hamza al-Bahlul’s sentence on Monday, just hours
after they announced that he was convicted on Friday. Bahlul
can appeal his sentence if he chooses to do so.
convicted of conspiring with al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden
and other high-ranking members of the terrorist group. Prosecutors
say Bahlul created an al-Qaida recruitment video that glorifies
an attack on the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen in 2000. Seventeen U.S.
sailors died in that attack.
also accused of assisting Mohammad Atta, one of the heads of
the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States
that killed nearly three thousand people.
Bahlul won the right to remain silent at his military tribunal
after he said he did not recognize the tribunal’s legitimacy.
judge, Air Force Col. Ronald Gregory, ruled that the burden
to prove guilt rested on the prosecution, allowing Bahlul and
his court-appointed attorney to avoid mounting a defense.
the second Guantanamo Bay detainee to be convicted in a war
crimes trial under the special military commissions system.
A jury convicted
the first, former Osama bin Laden driver Salim Hamdan, in August
on a charge of providing material support to terrorism. The
jury sentenced Hamdan to five-and-a-half years in prison.