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Saudi at Guantanamo charged over attack Al Darbi does not risk death penalty

WASHINGTON, Feb 6, (AFP): A Saudi man jailed in Guantanamo has been charged over a bombing attack against a French oil tanker ship in 2002 in Yemen, the Pentagon said Wednesday. Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza Al Darbi, 39, was sent before a military tribunal at the US prison in Cuba for terror suspects for, among other alleged offenses, planning, abetting and supporting the commission of the attack against the ship MV Limburg in the port of Aden.

The attack killed a Bulgarian crew member and wounded another 12 people, the Pentagon said. The Saudi man was captured in June 2002 and transferred to Guantanamo, months before the attack against the Limburg on October 6, 2002 according to military documents published by WikiLeaks.

The indictment says the suspect is also charged with offenses including attacking civilians, conspiracy and carrying out terrorism and endangering a sea vessel. The suspect is scheduled to appear before a judge at Guantanamo to be formally charged within 30 days, the Pentagon said in a statement. At that time he can plead guilty in an attempt to be eligible for a reduced sentence. He does not risk the death penalty, unlike the accused mastermind of the attack, his fellow Saudi Abd al-Rahim al- Nashiri. The trial of the latter is scheduled to begin in September 2014 in connection with the attack on the French oil tanker but also another attack against the American navy ship USS Cole in Yemen, which left 17 dead in 2000.

The administration of President Barack Obama will thus open its fourth set of legal proceedings at Guantanamo, after those of Nashiri in November 2011, and those against five suspects in the September 11 bombings, who first went to court in May 2012 and face the death penalty. Another man, Majid Khan of Pakistan, pleaded guilty in February 2012 to charges of conspiracy, murder and attempted murder. He pledged to cooperate with US authorities. Only seven men held at Guantanamo, including Khan, have so far been convicted since the prison opened in 2002. A total of 779 men have been held there at one time or another.

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