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Sudanese inmate pleads guilty at Guantanamo: US

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Feb 15, 2011
A Sudanese inmate pleaded guilty on Tuesday to providing "material support to terrorism" before a military tribunal in Guantanamo, officials said.

US authorities had accused Noor Uthman Mohammed of links with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and that he once allegedly delivered an "electronic communications" device -- possibly a fax machine -- to Osama bin Laden.

Captured in March 2002 in Pakistan, Mohammed is the sixth inmate at the US-run prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to be convicted and the third since President Barack Obama took office, a military spokeswoman said.

Mohammed "admitted, in open court, to providing material support to terrorism and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism," Lieutenant Colonel Tanya Bradsher said in a statement.

According to charge sheets, Mohammed was a deputy commander of a training camp in Khaldan, Afghanistan, in the 1990s and worked as a weapons instructor.

US authorities say Al-Qaeda fighters and some hijackers in the September 11 attacks trained at the paramilitary camp.

After the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, Mohammed escaped the country with the help of an Al-Qaeda operative and was later captured at an Al-Qaeda safe house in Pakistan in 2002, according to the charges.

In 2006, Mohammed told US authorities he was not a member of Al-Qaeda and had no knowledge of the network's operations, according to a military review of his detention.

The detainee, who has been held at Guantanamo for more than eight years, is due to be sentenced by a panel of military officers.

The military commissions, launched in 2006 under former president George W. Bush and reformed in 2009 by Obama, have been criticized by human rights groups, who have urged the US government to try terror suspects in regular civilian courts.

On his first day in office, Obama had ordered a ban on new cases before the military commissions but he reportedly is considering lifting the prohibition.

As of February 8, there were 173 detainees held at the prison at the US naval base at Guantanamo.

Obama vowed to shut the controversial prison but he faced resistance from Congress amid a fierce debate over the future of its high-profile foreign inmates.

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