Gitmo detainee pleads guilty in deal

Feb. 29, 2012 at 11:54 AM
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GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- A Guantanamo, Cuba, detainee with ties to al-Qaida pleaded guilty to war crimes Wednesday in a U.S. military court.

The plea was part of a deal that could lead to a reduced sentence or even his release after years in custody.

Majid Khan, 32, joined al-Qaida after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and moved money used to fund the 2003 bombing of a Marriott Hotel in Southeast Asia, The Miami Herald reported. Eleven people were killed and dozens wounded in the attack in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Khan declined an interpreter. A one-time U.S. resident, Khan graduated from a suburban Baltimore high school in 1999, the report said.

Under part of a deal released Tuesday, a military jury will hear the case and sentence Khan in 2016, the Herald said. Khan could be sentenced to a possible 40 years, but a military judge would reduce it to 25 years, the newspaper said. Then a senior U.S. Defense Department official would have the authority to suspend any or all of the sentence, the Herald reported.

Khan's defense lawyers asked that additional details of the deal be sealed because of Khan's family and friends in the United States.

Khan admitted to moving $50,000 from his native Pakistan to Thailand to help fund the 2003 Jakarta attack, the Herald said. Court documents also said he conspired with Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed to blow up fuel tanks in the United States, and to assassinate former Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, though neither plan was carried out.

Before arriving at Guantanamo in 2006, Khan was held in the secret CIA prison network, the Herald said. His lawyers claimed he was tortured.

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