War crimes charges for ex-Maryland man at Gitmo

AP News

2/15/2012 12:10:25 PM - AP News

Pentagon prosecutors have filed war crimes charges against a Pakistani detainee at Guantanamo who graduated from a U.S. high school, accusing him joining al-Qaida and taking part in a series of post-Sept. 11 terror plots.

Majid Khan, 31, faces up to life in prison if convicted of charges that include murder, attempted murder and providing material support for terrorism. The charges were submitted Tuesday but a Pentagon legal official must still review and approve them before the prisoner can be arraigned before a judge at the U.S. base in Cuba, a process that is expected to take several months.

Khan lived as a child in the suburbs of Baltimore, graduating from high school in 1999 and working at gas stations in the area owned by his family, but he is a citizen of Pakistan. Prosecutors say he joined al-Qaida on a trip to his homeland, working directly with senior members of the terrorist organization.

He is accused, among other things, of plotting with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attack who is also held at Guantanamo, to blow up underground fuel tanks in the U.S. and of volunteering to assassinate then President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan.

Khan was captured in March 2003 and held in a clandestine CIA prison, where his lawyers say he was tortured. He was transferred in September 2006 to Guantanamo, where he was with two of his lawyers, Wells Dixon and Katya Jestin, when he was served with the charges Monday.

"We are reviewing the charges, and will represent Majid throughout this process," Dixon and Jestin said in a statement. "Majid is doing well considering these challenging circumstances."