The Department of Defense announced that Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi, 50, pleaded guilty today in a military commission to providing material support to al Qaeda and conspiring to commit terrorism and material support to terrorism. His sentence will be determined at a hearing in August.
Responding to questions from the Military Judge, al Qosi admitted that he engaged in hostilities against the United States in violation of the laws of war. Al Qosi said under oath that he intentionally supported al Qaeda in hostilities against the United States since at least 1996, when Usama bin Laden issued an order urging his followers to commit acts of terrorism against the United States. In 1996, al Qosi followed bin Laden to Afghanistan. For the next six years he provided logistical support to Usama bin Laden and al Qaeda at al Qaeda compounds in Afghanistan.
During questioning under oath, al Qosi admitted that while he provided logistical support, he knew al Qaeda engaged in acts of terrorism. He admitted that he knew that al Qaeda was and is recognized around the world as an international terrorist organization.
Al Qosi was questioned by the Military Judge, Air Force Lt. Col. Nancy Paul, during a hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Three of his six attorneys - representing him at no cost to him - assisted him. In all cases tried by military commission, the Military Judge has a duty to inquire into the voluntariness of the plea before accepting a guilty plea. In this case, the Military Judge questioned al Qosi at length and then indicated she was satisfied that the accused understood his rights, that the plea was voluntary, and that there was a factual basis for the plea. This requirement safeguards the rights of the accused.
In all military commissions, a panel of military officers known as “members” determines the sentence, regardless of whether the plea was guilty or not guilty. While the military judge determines whether the accused understands the charges to which he pleads guilty and that his plea is voluntary, the members decide the appropriate sentence. At a hearing scheduled for August, the defense and prosecution will each have an opportunity to present evidence and argument to the members to aid them in determining a sentence.
A link to al Qosi’s list of charges can be viewed on the Military Commissions web site at http://www.defense.gov/news/d20080305alqosicharges.pdf.