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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 1158-05
November 07, 2005

Military Commission Charges Approved

The Department of Defense announced today that charges were approved on five enemy combatants detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Appointing Authority John D. Altenburg Jr. approved charges on Ghassan Abdullah al Sharbi and Jabran Said bin al Qahtani of Saudi Arabia; Sufyian Barhoumi of Algeria; Binyam Ahmed Muhammad of Ethiopia; and Omar Ahmed Khadr of Canada.

Al Sharbi, al Qahtani, Barhoumi and Muhammad are charged with conspiracy to commit the following offenses triable by military commission: attacking civilians; attacking civilian objects; murder by an unprivileged belligerent; destruction of property by an unprivileged belligerent; and terrorism.

Omar Ahmed Khadr is charged with conspiracy to commit offenses triable by military commission; murder by an unprivileged belligerent; attempted murder by an unprivileged belligerent; and aiding the enemy.

All five accused are presumed innocent of any criminal charges unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at a military commission. Military commission procedures provide for a full and fair trial to include: the presumption of innocence; a requirement for proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; representation by a military defense counsel free of charge with the option to retain a civilian defense counsel at no expense to the U.S. government; an opportunity to present evidence and call witnesses; no adverse inference if an accused chooses not to testify; and an appeal to an independent and impartial review panel. Military commissions have historically been used to try violations of the law of armed conflict and related offenses.

Copies of the charges are available at: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Nov2004/charge_sheets.html .

 Additionally, Altenburg lifted his stay in the case of Ali Hamza Ahmad Sulayman al Bahlul, clearing the way for it to proceed. No trial date has been set.