The Office of Military Commissions announced today that charges have been sworn against Guantanamo detainee Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza al Darbi of Saudi Arabia. The accused, al Darbi, is the brother-in-law of the Flight 77 hijacker al Mihdhar. Flight 77 is the plane that hit the Pentagon on 9/11.
The sworn charges are: Conspiring with others , to attack civilians, to murder in violation of the law of war, to destroy property in violation of the law of war, to hazard a vessel and to commit terrorism, and Providing Material Support to Terrorism. Mr. al Darbi was allegedly involved in planning attacks on a vessels in the Strait of Hormuz and off the coast of Yemen.
It is alleged that the accused, al Darbi, traveled to Jalalabad and met with Usama bin Laden, trained at al Qaeda's Jihad Wahl training camp and later served as a weapons instructor at another al Qaeda training camp. From 2001 through 2002, is also alleged that al Darbi moved money from al Qaeda into financial institutions for expenses related to a plot to attack a vessel in the Strait of Hormuz or off the coast of Yemen.
It is further alleged that al Darbi joined in preparations for an al Qaeda terrorist operation in traveling to several countries to purchase a GPS device, a boat, and other equipment in late 2000 or early 2001. The boat, named "Adnan would be loaded with explosives for future terrorist operations The accused, al Darbi, ultimately registered the boat in his name as the "al Rahal" under the Sao Tome flag, and also purchased an additional boat to instruct Yemenis how to swim and operate a boat. In the spring of 2002, al Darbi departed the UAE on board the boat "al Rahal" destined for Yemen, diverted the boat to Somalia due to concerns with his own passport, and during this discussed travel plans by satellite phone with Walid al Shiba.
In accordance with the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and the Manual for Military Commissions, sworn charges must be forwarded for review by the Legal Advisor to the Convening Authority. The Convening Authority may then refer any or all charges to trial by military commission, or may dismiss charges or specifications. If the Convening Authority decides to refer the case to trial, she will designate commission panel members. A military judge and trial dates will be designated at a later time.
Brigadier General Thomas Hartmann, Legal Advisor to the Convening Authority, has stated that these War Crime courts are now moving intensely forward in open courts and with more due process than any war criminal has historically received. As the Military Commissions continue, our uniformed service members, including judges, prosecutors and defense counsel, will conduct these trials with the dignity, fairness, and respect for law that defines American military justice.
The sworn charges are only allegations that the accused has committed a war crime under the Military Commissions Act, and the accused is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.