Fox News | February 2, 2023
Majid Khan was sentenced by a U.S. military jury in October 2021 to serve 26 years in prison, starting from the time he first pleaded guilty to war crimes Feb. 28, 2012.
Khan pleaded guilty to delivering $50,000 from Pakistan to an al Qaeda affiliate that used the funds to blow up a Marriott hotel in Indonesia in 2003 and kill an estimated 12 people.
In 2022, Convening Authority for Military Commissions Jeffrey D. Wood followed recommendations from a military panel and reduced Khan’s sentence to ten years, meaning his sentence concluded on March 1 of the same year.
Under current law, Guantanamo detainees cannot be taken to the United States.
Daily Mail | February 5, 2023
Khan, who graduated from a Maryland high school before joining the terrorist organization, started his new life in Belize on Thursday, after completing his 10-year sentence in March 2022.
Upon his release, Khan said in a statement: ‘I have been given a second chance in life and intend to make the most of it.
‘I deeply regret the things that I did many years ago, and I have taken responsibility and tried to make up for them,’ he continued.
‘I continue to ask for forgiveness from God and those that I have hurt. I am truly sorry.’
Khan then noted: ‘The world has changed a lot in 20 years and I have changed as well. I promise all of you, especially the people of Belize, that I will be a productive, law-abiding member of society.
‘Thank you for believing in me, and I will not let you down. My actions will speak louder than my words.’
TRANSFER TO BELIZE
A senior State Department official told the outlet that the administration looked at other countries where Khan might be transferred, factoring in locations that have a good relationship with the US, have the ability to support him, with any medical or security requirements and have the political willingness to house him.
But after Belize government officials ‘asked all the right questions,’ sources say, Secretary of State Antony Blinken became ‘personally involved’ in the negotiations.
He is said to have discussed the matter with the Belizean Prime Minister at a September meeting.
By Thursday, as Khan was released, the Pentagon expressed its gratitude to the country for supporting ‘ongoing US efforts focused on responsibly reducing the detainee population and ultimately closing the Guantanamo Bay facility.’
American officials maintain that Khan served in al Qaeda directly under the supervision of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM).
He graduated from a high school in suburban Baltimore and was working for a telecommunications contractor that managed the Pentagon phone system at the time of the September 11 attacks, which he said ‘radicalized him.’
Khan returned to Pakistan the following year, where, a Defense Department detainee assessment says, he joined al Qaeda and became a direct subordinate of KSM, the terrorist organization’s senior operational planner and the principal architect of the September 11 attacks.
According to the documents obtained by NBC News, KSM then tasked Khan with delivering money and transporting other senior al Qaeda officials to carry out a deadly attack on the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2003.
Authorities say KSM then intended to use Khan to attack US gas stations and water reservoirs.
He was arrested in Karachi in March 2003, and taken to CIA black sites where, Khan has said he was extensively tortured.
In 2006, then-President George W. Bush announced that Khan was one of 14 ‘high value detainees’ being transferred to Guantanamo Bay to face the military tribunal system.
He pleaded guilty in 2012 to conspiracy to commit murder, spying and ‘providing material support for terrorism.’
Khan was then sentenced to 10 years confinement with ‘credit for the three years he spent cooperating with US personnel.’
That sentence ended March 1, 2022, but authorities had to find a country willing to take him before he could be released. Though he has family in the United States, federal law does not allow Guantanamo Bay detainees to be resettled in the country.
With Khan’s release, the number of prisoners at Guantanamo is down to just 34 from a high of 660.
Twenty are now eligible for transfer, including brothers Abdul Rahim Ghulam Rabbani and Mohammed Ahmed Ghulam Rabbani.
They were both cleared to leave the detention center in the coming weeks, NBC News reports.
Abdul, believed to be the older brother, is alleged to have worked directly for KSM from 1999 until his arrest in September 2002.
In 1998, his younger brother, Mohammed, recruited him to travel to Afghanistan to attend the Khaldan camp for base weapons training, according to his US government detainee profile, but Abdul was kicked out of the camp for smoking.
He then returned to Karachi, Pakistan and began to run al Qaeda safe houses, playing a key role in moving figures from Afghanistan to Pakistan, as well as transporting money, documents and equipment.
US officials do not believe he had any specific insights into al Qaeda operations.
On May 13, 2021, the Guantanamo Bay Periodic Review Board determined the ‘continued law of war detention was no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States,’ and Abdul was cleared for release.
Mohammed, also known as Abu Badr, meanwhile, is also accused of running safe houses for al Qaeda in Karachi, but he has maintained that he was merely a taxi driver and a victim of mistaken identity.
He was cleared for release from Guantanamo in October 2021.
Both brothers were arrested in Karachi in September 2002 and were held at CIA black sites for months.
The announcement comes just days before a United Nations expert visits Guantanamo Bay for the first time ever.
Fionnuala Ni Aolain, the special UN reporter on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, will share her findings and recommendations following her visit next week.
She will also interview survivors of the September 11 attacks as well as former Guantanamo detainees over the next three months.
The detainees at Guantanamo Bay
Today, just 34 people remain detained at Guantanamo Bay.
Of those, 20 are eligible for release, including:
- Khaled Ahmed Qassim
- Uthman Abdul al-Rahim Muhammed Uthman
- Moath Hamza Ahmed al-Alwi
- Muieen A Deen Jamal-A Deen Abd al-Fusal Abd al-Sattar
- Ridah Bin Saleh al-Yazidi
- Zuhail Abdo Anam Said al-Sharabi
- Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi
- Said bin Brahim bin Umran Bakush
- Ismail Ali Faraj Ali Bakush
- Hani Saleh Rashid Abdullah
- Omar Mohammed Ali al-Rammah
- Tawfiq Nasir Ahmed al-Bihani
- Sanad Yislam al-Kazimi
- Hassan Mohammed Ali Bin Attash
- Sharqawi Abdu Ali al-Hajj
- Abdul Rahim Ghulam Rabbani
- Mohammed Ahmed Ghulam Rabbani
- Abdulsalam al-Hela
- Guled Hassan Duran
- Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu
Three others are not recommended for release, including:
- Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Husayn
- Mustafa Faraj Masud al-Jadid Mohammed
- Muhammad Rahim
Ten others are charged in the military commission system, including:
- Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi
- Ramzi bin al-Shibh
- Walid Bin Attash
- Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri
- Abd Al-Aziz Ali
- Encep Nurjaman
- Mohammed Farik Bin Amin
- Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep
- Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
- Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi
Only one has been convicted: Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman al-Bahlul
Source: New York Times