Prisoner pleads guilty to war crimes

The brother-in-law of a Sept. 11, 2001, hijacker pleaded guilty to war-crimes charges during his arraignment Thursday at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The military’s chief prosecutor, Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, said that Ahmed al-Darbi, 39, will be sentenced in about 31 / 2 years. As part of a plea deal, Darbi is likely to testify against another high-profile detainee at the facility, U.S. officials said.

Martins said Darbi could be repatriated to Saudi Arabia to serve out the remainder of his sentence in a prison. He faces between nine and 15 additional years behind bars, Defense Department officials said.

Darbi is accused of helping to plan a 2002 attack on a French oil tanker in Yemen that killed a Bulgarian crewman. The Saudi was captured in 2002. He is married to a sister of Khalid Almihdhar, who helped hijack American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon.

— Adam Goldman

Bill affecting gays heads to governor

The state legislature gave final approval Thursday evening to a measure that allows business owners asserting their religious beliefs to refuse service to gays, drawing a backlash from Democrats who called the plan “state-sanctioned discrimination.”

The 33 to 27 vote by the House sends the legislation to Gov. Jan Brewer (R). Similar religious protection legislation has been introduced in several states, but Arizona’s plan is the only one that has passed.

— Associated Press

N.Y. settles wrongful conviction: A man whose murder conviction was overturned after he spent 23 years in prison has settled with New York City for $6.4 million. The office of New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced the settlement with David Ranta on Thursday. Ranta, who was released last March, had been convicted in the death of Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger during a botched robbery in 1990.

Medicaid expansion stalls again in Arkansas: A compromise plan for Medicaid expansion in Arkansas remained stalled in the state House on Thursday, despite the state Senate endorsing legislation to continue the program. The House voted 72 to 25 to reauthorize funding, three votes shy of the 75 needed. House leaders say they’ll keep holding votes until it passes.

Two sentenced for beating at stadium: Two men were sentenced to prison Thursday after pleading guilty to charges stemming from the severe beating of a San Francisco Giants fan outside Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles in March 2011. Bryan Stow, 45, was left with brain damage from the attack after a game between the Dodgers and Giants. Louie Sanchez, 31, who was accused of attacking Stow from behind and knocking him to the ground, was sentenced to eight years in prison. Marvin Norwood, 33, who blocked Stow’s friends, was sentenced to four years behind bars.

From news services