U.S. military commission court sentences Guantanamo Bay inmate to 14 years in prison

Published: Saturday, February 19, 2011, 19:30 [IST]
 

GUANTANAMO BAY: A Sudanese inmate being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba on Friday was sentenced to 14 years in confinement, just three days after he pled guilty to providing material support to terrorism.

Noor Uthman Mohammed of Sudan is accused of being a principal trainer and in charge of all training at the notable Khalden training camp in Afghanistan. Among individuals who are believed to have attended the camp are participants of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a participant in the bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa and individuals who participated in the attacks of September 11, 2001.

But Noor's defense lawyer, Maj. Amy Fitzgibbons, has condemned the connection made by prosecutors between Noor and those involved in the attacks of September 11, 2001. She said hundreds of people had gone through the training camp and added that Noor was there to "deepen his faith and get small arms training."

In a news report published in the Miami Herald in September 2010, Fitzgibbons was cited as saying that Noor's time at the Khalden training camp was "similar" to Americans going with a group of friends "to a rifle range.''

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Defense said Noor had pleaded guilty in a military commission court. He reportedly admitted, in open court, to providing material support to terrorism and conspiring to provide material support to terrorism.

"In all cases tried by military commission, the military judge has a duty to inquire into the voluntariness of the guilty plea before it may be accepted," the U.S. Department of Defense wrote in a statement. "In this case, the military judge questioned Muhammed at length and then indicated she was satisfied that the accused understood his rights, that the plea was voluntary, and that there was a legal and factual basis for the plea."

On Friday, at the conclusion of hearings which began on Wednesday, Noor was sentenced to 14 years in confinement. "A pre-sentencing hearing took place in a military commission courtroom at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay," the U.S. Department of Defense said.

Under the terms of a pre-trial agreement, Noor agreed to testify for the United States at any military commission, federal court proceeding, or federal grand jury proceeding against other individuals involved in terrorist activity.

"Muhammed has cooperated with U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies and, as part of the pre-trial agreement, must continue to cooperate. In exchange for Muhammed's guilty plea and promise to cooperate and testify, the Convening Authority agreed to suspend any period of confinement greater than 34 months. If Muhammed fails to comply with his promise to testify and cooperate, he can be required to serve all 14 years of his sentence," the Department added in a statement.

(BNO NEWS )

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