Ex-Gitmo detainee conviction overturned

The convening authority for the Office of Military Commissions, retired Marine Major General Vaughn A. Ary, on Jan. 9 overturned the terror conviction against Sudanese national Noor Uthman Muhammed (charge sheet, PDF) and dismissed the charges against him. Muhammed was accused of working as a weapons instructor and logistician in Afghanistan, and pled guilty to charges of providing material support for terrorism and conspiracy to provide material support for terrorism in February 2011. The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit [official website] ruled in two subsequent, unrelated cases that trials for terrorist detainees should not be conducted by military commission (Bahlul v. US; Hamdan v. Rumsfeld) unless the crime was recognized as a war crime at the time it was committed. The DC Circuit decisions, binding on military commissions, required the convening authority to dismiss the findings and sentence against Muhammed.

Muhammed was captured in Pakistan in 2002, and charged at Guantánamo Bay under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (PDF). Prosecutors for the US Department of Defense charged Muhammed in 2008 based on allegations that he conspired with various al-Qaeda leaders and ran a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2000. The military commission sentenced him to 14 years confinement (PDF) in February 2011 after he pled guilty. Muhammed was repatriated from Guantanamo Bay to Sudan in December 2013.

From Jurist, Jan. 10. Used with permission.