From Andrea Prasow, JURIST
When Majid Khan entered the cavernous "expeditionary legal complex" at Guantanamo Wednesday, there was a palpable sense of surprise. This was the first time he had appeared in public since his 2003 arrest in Pakistan, but unlike many other detainees who have appeared before the commission in prison jumpsuits and long beards, Khan, 32, was relatively clean-shaven, with a small goatee and short cropped hair. He wore a dark suit, white shirt and burnt red tie and spoke nearly perfect English having spent his teen years in a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland.
Khan was facing charges for, among other things, conspiracy and murder in violation of the laws of war for his role in an alleged series of post-September 11, 2001 al Qaeda operations. He had been held for nine years without charge until February when formal proceedings finally began against him. For more than three of those nine years he was in secret CIA detention. He faced a possible life sentence but yesterday he pleaded guilty in exchange for a promise of a reduced sentence if he agreed to cooperate, presumably by providing evidence against other Guantanamo detainees. Khan's plea is a great win for the government, but not for the reasons one would assume. While it is true the prosecution can tout a new conviction at Guantanamo, the real win is that the CIA detention and torture program will not be put on trial.
Saturday, March 3, 2012
From Andrea Prasow, JURIST
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