Bin Laden's cook pleads guilty at Guantanamo

Wed Jul 7, 2010 8:46pm GMT

By Jane Sutton

MIAMI (Reuters) - A Sudanese prisoner accused of guarding Osama bin Laden and helping him escape U.S. forces in Afghanistan pleaded guilty at Guantanamo Wednesday, giving the Obama administration its first conviction in the controversial war crimes court.

Ibrahim al Qosi pleaded guilty to conspiring with al Qaeda and providing material support for terrorism, court spokesman Joe DellaVedova said.

Qosi, who ran the kitchen and provided supplies at Bin Laden's Star of Jihad compound in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, has been held at Guantanamo for more than eight years.

His sentence could range from no additional time to life imprisonment, DellaVedova said by phone from the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A panel of U.S. military officers will assemble at Guantanamo to hear evidence and deliberate his sentence on August 9.

The terms of his plea agreement were not disclosed but it was expected to contain some limit on his sentence.

Qosi, 50, is only the fourth captive convicted in the controversial military tribunals since the Guantanamo detention camp was opened to hold terrorism suspects in January 2002.

Two were sent home to Australia and Yemen after serving brief sentences. One other, al Qaeda videographer Ali Hamza al Bahlul of Yemen, remains at Guantanamo serving a life term for the same two charges Qosi pleaded guilty to.

Shortly after taking office, President Barack Obama signed an order to close the detention camp by January 2009, and said suspected terrorists should be tried in the U.S. courts or in regular courts-martial.   Continued...

<p>In this photo of a sketch by courtroom artist Janet Hamlin, reviewed by the U.S. military, defendant Ibrahim al-Qosi (L) sits with a member of his defense team inside the courthouse for the U.S. war crimes commission, at the Camp Justice compound, at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, July 15, 2009. REUTERS/Janet Hamlin/Pool</p>
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