GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – A video maker for Osama bin Laden who vowed that al-Qaida will never stop fighting America was sentenced to life in prison Monday for encouraging terrorist attacks.
A jury of nine military officers deliberated for just under an hour before condemning Ali Hamza al-Bahlul at Guantanamo’s second war-crimes trial. Al-Bahlul was convicted of 35 counts of conspiracy, solicitation to commit murder and providing material support for terrorism.
The military has not said where he will serve his sentence.
The 39-year-old Yemeni defiantly admitted joining al-Qaida, accused the U.S. of oppressing Muslims for 50 years and said “we will fight any government that governs America.”
“We are the only ones on Earth who stand against you,” al-Bahlul said, adding that the U.S. has only itself to blame for the Sept. 11 attacks.
“Whoever said this happened out of nowhere is an idiot,” he said. “You have started the war against us.”
The lead prosecutor, Army Maj. Daniel Cowhig, said al-Balhul has shown no remorse or regret.
“When will it be safe for this man to leave confinement? Never,” Cowhig said.
Al-Bahlul was not accused of participating in the Sept. 11 attacks, but prosecutors and witnesses said he was so close to bin Laden that he hooked up a satellite receiver so the pair could hear live radio coverage of the attacks as they huddled in Afghanistan’s Khost province.