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Al Qosi Pleads Guilty in Guantánamo

Ibrahim al Qosi plead guilty to the two charges of conspiracy and material support of terrorism.  This is only the fourth successful detainee trial in a military commission, and only the first under the Obama administration.  Al Qosi was one of the first prisoners transferred to Guantánamo, and has been in custody since January 2002.

Al Qosi’s guilty plea was part of a pre-trial agreement (PTA), the details of which will remained sealed until after the sentencing portion of the trial, currently scheduled for August 9, 2010. reports that the PTA will limit al Qosi’s time in Guantánamo to two more years, after which he will released to Sudan, his home country.  The portions of the PTA the military judge read aloud in court indicate that al Qosi has agreed to withdraw his current habeas petition, agreed to refrain from bringing suit against U.S. officials acting in official capacity relating to his apprehension, detention, or trial, and refrains from engaging or supporting any further hostilities against the U.S. or coalition members.

It was not clear from the trial whether al Qosi can challenge an Administrative branch decision to detain him as an unprivileged combatant after he serves his sentence, but a member of the defense counsel indicated that he would still have a right to file a habeas action to challenge such a detention.

The defense team declined to comment after the trial, but the prosecution team spoke in a press conference immediately following the trial.  Captain David Iglesias said that “This represents progress in our country’s ongoing struggle against terrorism.  We’ve got someone who admitted under oath to some pretty serious violations under the laws of war.”

Although it is not clear that material support is a violation of the recognized law of war, al Qosi has waived his right to appeal the charge.  It is also not clear whether the court has yet determined that it has jurisdiction to try al Qosi, but he will probably not be able to challenge the jurisdiction of the military commission.


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