Bin Laden's secretary guilty of terror crimes

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The Independent US

A US military tribunal has found Osama bin Laden's media secretary guilty of conspiring with al-Qa'ida, soliciting murder and providing material support for terrorism.

Ali Hamza al Bahlul, from Yemen, is the second man to be convicted by a jury in the war crimes court at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He faces life in prison.

The jury deliberated for about four hours before reaching their verdict on Friday, after a week-long trial. FBI interrogators said that Bahlul had scripted the videotaped wills of two September 11 hijackers and boasted of making an al-Qa'ida commercial to recruit suicide bombers. The evidence against him was unchallenged because Bahlul refused to call witnesses or to stage a defence. He was not allowed to defend himself.

Bahlul, who is about 39, broke his silence at his sentencing hearing and delivered a speech praising bin Laden and predicting his own conviction would strengthen al Qaeda's fight against the United States, a military officer involved in the trial said.

Bahlul waved a paper airplane and read the jurors a poem he had written in praise of the Sept. 11 attacks, the officer said.

FBI interrogators testified that Bahlul scripted the videotaped wills of two Sept. 11 hijackers and boasted of making a two-hour al Qaeda commercial designed to recruit suicide bombers.

The recruitment video was filled with bloody images of violence against Muslims and portrayed the attack on the USS Cole as part of "The Solution." It praised the suicide bombers who drove a boat full of explosives into the side of the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden in 2000, killing 17 American sailors.

Jurors agreed the recruitment video was a solicitation to commit murder.

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