GUANTANAMO BAY: After nearly nine years of incarceration, the first high-value detainee at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre, Majid Khan, a Pakistani national, pleaded guilty to charges against him, as part of a plea-bargain agreement.
Khan, 32, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, murder and attempted murder in violation of the laws of war, and to material support for terrorism and espionage.
In his first public appearance since his arrest, Khan denied the use of an interpreter and spoke in an American accent, a throwback from the years he spent in a US high school and his time in Baltimore, Maryland from 1996 to 2002.
“I’ve been trying to contact the Embassy of Pakistan for nine years … I want to officially request that I want a Pakistani lawyer down the road,” he said.
Khan had been accused, amongst other charges, of plotting to assassinate former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in 2002, and helping to provide finances for the 2003 bomb blast in Indonesia.
Khan is also accused of plotting with Khalid Sheikh Mohammad to carry out attacks in the US post 9/11.
During the hearing, Khan admitted that he had helped in a conspiracy in Pakistan and ‘did things’ from 2002 to 2003, but insisted he did not know the money he delivered in 2003 was for the purpose of the Indonesia hotel bombing in August of 2003. He also said that he never met Osama Bin Laden – whom he referred to as ‘Sheikh Osama Bin Laden’ – nor did he swear an oath to help Khalid Sheikh Mohammad.
According to sources, Khan’s parents, who reside in Maryland, did not come to Fort Meade to see the CCTV proceedings of the arraignment hearing.
In a copy of the pre-trial agreement seen by The Express Tribune, Khan has agreed to cooperate fully and truthfully with the government. He has also agreed to provide ‘complete and accurate information’ in interviews, depositions and testimony.
The agreement also says that the convening authority will recommend to the JTF-GTMO commander that as long as ‘Khan is fully and truthfully cooperating’ with the authorities, he should not be detained at Camp VII.
According to the pre-trial agreement discussed in court, the maximum sentence that the convening authority can impose on Khan is 19 years, if Khan is cooperating with US authorities.
Sentencing is due to take place in 2016. The four years that Khan is to serve in confinement from current day to 2016 will be credited to the sentence that is awarded to him.
When discussing the pre-trial agreement, Judge Pohl said that it states that Khan cannot sue the US for capture, detention, prosecution, confinement and post-confinement.
In response, Khan said, “So basically you’re saying I can’t sue the CIA … this agreement does not guarantee that I can ever get free … I’m making a leap of faith here. That’s all I can do.” The censor at the commission imposed white noise and cut the CCTV proceedings’ feed at the mention of the CIA.
Khan was reportedly kept in a CIA secret prison from 2003 to 2006, before he was transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2006. While at the detention facility, Khan reportedly tried to commit suicide twice, once by “chewing on his veins.”
Khan, as a high-value detainee, was detained at Camp VII, where 14 other high value detainees, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, are imprisoned.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 1st, 2012.
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