Page last updated at 22:29 GMT, Monday, 3 November 2008

Bin Laden's video-maker gets life

Sketch of Bahlul at Guantanamo hearing
It is not clear where Bahlul, 39, will serve his sentence

A man accused of being Osama Bin Laden's media secretary has been sentenced to life in prison at the US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay.

Ali Hamza al-Bahlul's sentence came after he was convicted of conspiracy, solicitation to commit murder and making propaganda videos for al-Qaeda.

A jury of nine military officers took an hour to agree on the sentence at Guantanamo's second war-crimes trial.

It is not clear where the 39-year-old Yemeni will serve his sentence.

Bahlul, who was brought to the US facility on Cuba in 2002, had refused to present a defence during his trial, calling it a farce.

Prosecutors said he had shown no remorse or regret for his crimes.

"When will it be safe for this man to leave confinement? Never," said Army Maj Daniel Cowhig, for the prosecution.


Bahlul had shown no emotion as he was found guilty on 35 charges on Monday.

But at his sentencing hearing, he defiantly admitted being a member of al-Qaeda.

"We will fight government that governs America," AP news agency quoted him as telling the military jurors through a translator.

We are the only ones on Earth who stand against you
Ali Hamza al-Bahlul

"We are the only ones on Earth who stand against you."

He also said the US had only itself to blame for the 11 September 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

"Whoever said this happened out of nowhere is an idiot. You have started a war against us," he added.

Prosecutors said Bahlul had acknowledged to interrogators being al-Qaeda's media chief and having made propaganda videos for Bin Laden designed to recruit suicide bombers.

The American military said any work Bahlul did for al-Qaeda was by definition a war crime because the group was a terrorist organisation.

He is the second prisoner to face a war crimes trial under a specially-created system of military commissions that civil rights activists and lawyers have criticised as lacking full protection of defendants' rights.

In the first such trial, Salim Hamdan, Osama Bin Laden's former driver, was convicted in August and sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail.

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