The Department of Defense announced today that the Office of the Chief Prosecutor for Military Commissions has sworn charges against Guantanamo detainee Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza al Darbi, a Saudi Arabian national.
The charges sworn today allege that the accused committed offenses triable under the Military Commissions Act of 2009, 10 U.S.C. §§ 948a, et seq, including: (1) Conspiracy to Commit Multiple Offenses Triable by Military Commission; (2) Aiding and Abetting the Offense of Attacking Civilian Objects; (3) Aiding and Abetting the Offense of Hazarding a Vessel; (4) Aiding and Abetting the Offense of Terrorism; (5) Multiple Specifications of Attempt; and (6) Aiding the Enemy. The charges are merely accusations, and the accused is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The maximum sentence for these charges is confinement for life.
These sworn charges allege that al Darbi joined a terrorist conspiracy with al Qaeda by the year 1997. In furtherance of this conspiracy, al Darbi is alleged to have attended the Khalden training camp in Afghanistan, to have received personal permission from Usama bin Laden to train at al Qaeda’s Jihad Wahl training camp, and to have worked as a weapons instructor at al Qaeda’s al Farouq training camp, both in Afghanistan. From approximately 2000 through 2002, al Darbi is also alleged to have committed multiple overt acts in support of a plot to bomb civilian oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and off the coast of Yemen. These alleged acts included: receiving large amounts of money from al Qaeda; purchasing GPS devices and other equipment; purchasing a boat intended to be the attack vessel; registering this boat under the name of an unwitting participant; applying for travel documents that allowed potential attack operatives to travel from Yemen to the UAE; training these potential attack operatives; and sailing the boat he purchased towards Yemen in order to meet with these attack operatives.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, al Darbi is alleged to have aided and abetted the completed terrorist attack against the French oil tanker, the MV Limburg, which severely injured multiple civilians and caused a large oil spill in the Gulf of Aden in 2002.
The Regulation for Trial by Military Commission requires that the chief prosecutor notify the legal advisor to the Convening Authority and the chief defense counsel for Military Commissions within 24 hours of swearing charges. The accused must also be notified of the charges sworn against him as soon as practicable. The chief prosecutor will not immediately forward the charges to the Convening Authority for action in this case. Once the chief prosecutor does so, the Convening Authority makes an independent determination as to whether to refer some, all, or none of the charges for trial by military commission. If the Convening Authority decides to refer the case to trial, he will designate commission panel members (jurors). The chief trial judge of the Military Commissions Trial Judiciary then assigns a military judge to the case.
The Chief Prosecutor, Brigadier General Mark Martins, said upon the swearing of charges, “Mr. al Darbi’s alleged crimes are serious violations of the law of war that were committed to terrorize and wreak havoc on the world economy. We will be prepared to proceed toward his trial by reformed military commission if the Convening Authority refers charges.”