The Department of Defense announced today that Ibrahim al Qosi was sentenced to 14 years in confinement for conspiracy and providing material support to al Qaeda.
The sentencing hearing took place in a military commission courtroom at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It follows al Qosi’s guilty plea in July. During his guilty plea, al Qosi admitted that he engaged in hostilities against the United States in violation of the laws of war. He admitted that he intentionally supported al Qaeda since at least 1996, when Osama bin Laden issued an order urging his followers to commit acts of terrorism against the United States.
At the sentencing hearing, the prosecutors presented evidence that al Qosi performed an important function within al Qaeda. He provided key logistics support to bin Laden at various al Qaeda compounds in Afghanistan. After the September 11, 2001, attacks, he helped bin Laden and other al Qaeda forces escape Afghanistan in anticipation of a U.S. invasion. He was captured fleeing Afghanistan in December 2001. The defense presented video testimony from members of his family in Sudan, including his father, cousin and brother.
At the end of the hearing, al Qosi was sentenced by a panel of military officers, known as “members” – the equivalent of a jury in civilian courts. The defense and the prosecution asked the military judge to instruct the members to consider a sentence of 12 to 15 years of confinement. Under the Manual for Military Commissions, al Qosi will not receive credit for the time he spent in law of war detention before his conviction. The Convening Authority will defer his sentence for a period of 60 days in order to facilitate resolution of matters related to where al Qosi will serve his sentence.
After the military commission adjourns, the Office of Military Commissions will finalize the record of trial, including all the related documents. The military judge must review the record to ensure it is accurate, after which it will be sent to the Convening Authority for Military Commissions. The Convening Authority may reduce, but not increase, al Qosi’s sentence. After reviewing the record, the Convening Authority will take final action on the findings and sentence, announcing the sentence that al Qosi will serve.