Bin Laden aide convicted in war crimes trial

November 4th, 2008 - 1:50 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 4 (DPA) A propagandist for Osama bin Laden was found guilty Monday on three charges of war crimes at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, becoming only the second detainee convicted in a trial under President George W. Bush’s controversial military commissions.Yemeni Ali Hamza al-Bahlul faces a maximum sentence of life in prison following the conviction by a military jury at the naval installation, the Miami Herald reported.

Pentagon prosecutors argued that al-Bahlul, about 40, made videos designed to boost Al Qaeda recruitment and incite suicide bombings, the report said. He was found guilty of conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism and soliciting murder.

Al-Bahlul refused to mount a defence and did not allow his military-appointed attorneys to question witnesses or challenge evidence, saying he could only be tried under Islamic Sharia law.

“Go ahead with your trial. And I will continue with my boycott. Do whatever you want,” al-Bahlul said, according to the newspaper.

Al-Bahlul and bin Laden’s driver Salim Hamdan, also of Yemen, are the only two of the remaining 255 detainees at Guantanamo to be convicted.

Hamdan was convicted in August and received a five-and-a-half year prison sentence, which included his time already served. As bin Laden’s alleged driver and bodyguard, Hamdan was found guilty of providing military support to terrorism.

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