SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — U.S. military prosecutors have filed charges against a Saudi prisoner held at Guantanamo Bay who is related by marriage to one of the Sept. 11 hijackers, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
Prosecutors filed war crimes charges that include aiding terrorism against Ahmed al-Darbi for allegedly training with al-Qaeda and taking part in plots to attack oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and off the coast of Yemen, the Pentagon said in a statement.
He would face up to life in prison if convicted.
“Mr. al Darbi’s alleged crimes are serious violations of the law of war that were committed to terrorize and wreak havoc on the world economy,” the chief Guantanamo war crimes prosecutor, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, said in a statement.
The charges must be reviewed and approved by a legal official who oversees the military tribunals at Guantanamo before al-Darbi can be arraigned at the U.S. base in Cuba.
The 37-year-old al-Darbi, who has been in U.S. custody since June 2002, is married to a sister of Khalid al-Mihdhar, one of the hijackers who crashed a plane into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
Al-Darbi’s lawyer has previously said that the marriage connection was the reason that al-Darbi was detained in the first place and charged that the prisoner was abused by U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Al-Darbi was among the prisoners at Guantanamo who were previously charged but the case was dismissed along the others so that President Barack Obama’s administration could make changes to the tribunals, known as military commissions.
The Obama administration had wanted to close Guantanamo but was prevented by Congress, which passed a law prohibiting the government from moving prisoners to the U.S. There are now nearly 170 men held at the prison, including several dozen expected to eventually face charges.