11-Year Gitmo Detainee: Please, Let Me Plead Guilty!

Detainees see conviction as the only way out

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 16, 2013 8:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – Sufiyan Barhoumi is desperate to plead guilty to war crimes—but prosecutors won't even charge him with anything unless he does them a favor first. Such is the twisted logic that prevails at Guantanamo Bay, where being convicted is the best route home, the Wall Street Journal reports. Barhoumi was one of about 16 detainees set to be tried for conspiracy and material support for terrorism, before a federal appeals court ruled that the military couldn't file those charges because they weren't war crimes.

"For years, your ticket out of Guantanamo was being found guilty," Barhoumi's lawyer says. "Now, there's nothing to be found guilty of." Prosecutors say they'll charge Barhoumi, who has been at Gitmo for 11 years, if he agrees to testify against other detainees. "I would classify it as an abuse of prosecutorial discretion," another defense attorney says, an allegation that infuriates prosecutors. Barhoumi was captured in the same 2002 raid as Abu Zubaydah. "I was in the wrong place," he tells the Journal. "I don't have a black heart against America."

A sign is seen outside the Courthouse One Expeditionary Legal Complex at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Monday, June 17, 2013.
A sign is seen outside the Courthouse One Expeditionary Legal Complex at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Monday, June 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Bill Gorman)
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