A military commission today found Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman al Bahlul of Yemen guilty of conspiracy with Usama Bin Laden and others to commit murder of protected persons, attacking civilians and other crimes. He was also found guilty of solicitation to commit murder of protected persons, to attack civilian objects, and to commit acts of terrorism.
In addition, the commission found him guilty of providing material support for terrorism by supporting al Qaeda through meeting with the highest ranking members of the organization and creating al Qaeda propaganda including the widely-distributed propaganda video, “The Destruction of the American Destroyer U.S.S. Cole.” All offenses were in violation of the Military Commissions Act of 2006.
Now that al Bahlul has been found guilty of these offenses, the commission must conduct a separate hearing to determine an appropriate sentence. Based on the crimes for which he has been convicted he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
His conviction at trial is one step in the military commission process. After the trial is complete his case will receive an automatic review by the Convening Authority, who will evaluate the legal sufficiency of the findings and appropriateness of the sentence. He will still be represented by counsel and will have the opportunity to submit matters for consideration on his behalf. Then his case will receive an automatic review by the Court of Military Commission Review. Thereafter, he could appeal to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the Supreme Court.
The purpose of trials by Military Commissions is to serve justice to those accused of violations of the law of war, and to keep the United States, its friends and allies safe from those determined to carry out attacks on civilian populations and coalition forces.