Guantanamo detainee with Baltimore ties is charged with war crimes

February 14, 2012

A former Baltimore area resident held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was charged Tuesday by military prosecutors with war crimes, including murder, attempted murder, spying and providing material support for terrorism.

Majid Khan, a Pakistani citizen and a former legal resident of the United States, is accused of conspiring with Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, to conduct a series of follow-up operations in the United States. These included targeting underground gasoline storage tanks, according to the military.

Khan, a graduate of a suburban Baltimore high school near where his parents ran a gas station, is also accused of donning a suicide vest and planning to assassinate former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf.

According to the military, Khan traveled to Pakistan in January 2002 and returned to Baltimore a few months later to acquire a laptop for al-Qaeda and get information about the U.S. military.

After he went back to Pakistan in August 2002, Khan worked directly for Mohammed, according to the military, and his tasks included carrying $50,000 to an al-Qaeda affiliate group in Bangkok. The military alleges that Jemaah Islamiah, a regional terrorist organization in Southeast Asia, used the money to fund the bombing of the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, in August 2003. Eleven people were killed in the attack, and more than 80 others were wounded.

Khan was detained at a relative’s house in Pakistan in March 2003 and turned over to the United States. He vanished into the CIA’s system of overseas prisons until President George W. Bush announced that he was one of 14 “high-value” detainees who had been transferred to Cuba in September 2006. At Guantanamo Bay, he is held at the top-security Camp 7, whose exact location at the U.S. naval base remains classified.

Khan’s attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights, a New York-based advocacy organization, have said their client was tortured and coerced into making self-incriminating statements.

If convicted, Khan faces up to life in prison. A senior Pentagon official must still refer the charges to a military commission for trial.

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