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Archive for Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Jury: Life sentence for bin Laden videomaker

November 4, 2008

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— A Guantanamo prisoner who made propaganda videos for Osama bin Laden and says he volunteered to be a Sept. 11 hijacker was convicted of terrorism charges and sentenced to life in prison Monday.

A jury of nine U.S. military officers deliberated for just under an hour before condemning Ali Hamza al-Bahlul at Guantanamo's second war-crimes trial. Al-Bahlul was convicted of 35 counts of conspiracy, solicitation to commit murder and providing material support for terrorism.

The jury, which announced its verdict earlier Monday, dismissed one count of conspiracy and one count of providing material support for terrorism.

The 39-year-old Yemeni defiantly admitted joining al-Qaida, accused the U.S. of oppressing Muslims for 50 years and said "we will fight any government that governs America."

He told jurors before his sentencing he volunteered to be the 20th hijacker in the Sept. 11 attacks but bin Laden told him his role was only to produce propaganda.

"We are the only ones on Earth who stand against you," al-Bahlul said, adding that the U.S. has only itself to blame for the Sept. 11 attacks.

"Whoever said this happened out of nowhere is an idiot," he said. "You have started the war against us."

The lead prosecutor, Army Maj. Daniel Cowhig, said al-Bahlul has shown no remorse or regret.

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