War on Terrorism

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Commission Sentences bin Laden Aide to 14 Years

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12, 2010 - A military commission at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, sentenced a Sudanese man to 14 years' confinement yesterday for material support he provided al-Qaida in the years leading up to its Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, military officials reported.

Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi, 50, pleaded guilty July 7 to two charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism and providing material support to al-Qaida from August 1996 until his capture in December 2001.

Prosecutors presented evidence that al Qosi performed an important function in al-Qaida's ability to recruit and train operatives and to plan attacks against the United States, as ordered by Osama bin Laden. Al Qosi acknowledged in his plea that he was a bodyguard and driver for senior al-Qaida leaders, including bin Laden, and helped them escape Afghanistan in anticipation of a U.S. invasion in late 2001.

The defense presented video testimony at the sentencing from al Qosi's family in Sudan, including his father, uncle, and brother.

Al Qosi was sentenced by a panel of military officers, and the defense and prosecution asked them through the judge to consider a sentence of 12 to 15 years. Under the laws of war and the Manual for Military Commissions, al Qosi will not receive credit for the nine years he has spent in U.S. custody, officials said.

Under commission procedures, the convening authority for military commissions may reduce the sentence, but not increase it. After reviewing the commission record, the convening authority will defer al Qosi's sentence for 60 days while it is determined where al Qosi will serve the sentence, they said.

Al Qosi's conviction marks the first case prosecuted under the Obama administration and the Military Commissions Act of 2009, which the president signed in October.

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