The jury in the US military commission trial of alleged al-Qaeda media director Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman al Bahlul reached a verdict in the case Nov. 1, finding him guilty of material support for terrorism. The verdict was sealed until Nov. 3, with al-Bahlul present in the courtroom at the Guantanamo Bay prison. Al-Bahlul, a 39-year-old Yemeni citizen, vowed earlier this year to boycott proceedings against him, saying he would attend only when a verdict was handed down or he was sentenced. The military jury deliberated for only four hours before reaching a verdict. Al-Bahlul is only the second detainee to go on trial at Guantanamo since the prison there opened in 2002.
Al-Bahlul, alleged to have been Osama bin Laden’s personal assistant and media secretary, was charged in February with conspiracy, solicitation to commit murder and attacks on civilians, and providing material support for terrorism. He is accused of researching the financial impact of the 9-11 attacks and releasing the “martyr wills” of 9-11 hijackers Muhammed Atta and Ziad al Jarrah as propaganda videos. He could receive a sentence of up to life imprisonment. (Reuters, Nov. 3; Jurist, Nov. 1)
The previous conviction was that of Australian David Hicks in 2007.