US military judge seals sentence of bin Laden's former cook

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Washington, Aug 10 (ANI): Judge Nancy J. Paul, a US Air Force lieutenant colonel, has ordered the sealing of a plea agreement capping the maximum sentence of Osama bin Laden's former cook, making it the first Guantanamo secret conviction under President Barack Obama.

According to The Washington Post, 50-year-old Ibrahim al-Qosi, a native of Sudan, who worked for bin Laden for years before the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy and material support for terrorism as part of a pre-trial agreement.

A spokesman for the military commission's prosecutors, Navy Capt. David Iglesias, refused to discuss the agreement or explain why it was kept secret. However, he said that the plea raises "security issues" and is to be kept secret for the benefit of both Qosi and the government.

Iglesias, however, assured that Qosi's period of confinement would be made public after military officials review the record of trial, which might take several weeks. ary Solis, a former military judge who has presided over more than 700 court martial, said, "the sealed agreement is "certainly a novelty to me."

"There was obviously a quid pro quo that led both prosecution and defense to agree to it," he added.

Only three detainees were convicted at Guantanamo under the Bush administration, and two of those have since been released. Qosi was among the first four detainees charged before a military commission in 2004.

Prosecutors alleged at that time that Qosi had managed charitable donations for al-Qaeda and a bin Laden-owned company.

In 2007, those allegations were dropped. At a hearing in December, prosecutors appeared to want to reintroduce some of those allegations, but the judge said they would have to withdraw all charges and re-file the case to do so.

The government went ahead with the existing allegations that Qosi was a cook and driver for al-Qaeda.

Qosi agreed to a statement of facts that he followed bin Laden from Sudan to Afghanistan in 1996 and served as a head cook at an al-Qaeda compound in Kandahar.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, Qosi fled to Pakistan, where he was arrested by the local authorities and handed over to American officials. He has been held at Guantanamo for more than eight years. (ANI)

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