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U.S. eyes war-crimes charges for two detainees

/ Source: The Associated Press

U.S. military prosecutors on Friday prepared charges against a Yemeni detainee accused of serving as Osama bin Laden's media secretary and a Sudanese man who allegedly aided al-Qaida.

Five other detainees at this isolated Navy base already have been charged or selected for prosecution at the first war-crimes tribunals since the World War II era.

The Yemeni, Ali Hamza Ahmad Sulayman al-Bahlul, allegedly created propaganda videos for bin Laden and took up arms to help him avoid capture in Afghanistan. He faces charges of conspiracy, solicitation to commit murder and providing material support to terrorism.

Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al-Qosi is accused of working as a bodyguard and driver for bin Laden during the late 1990s and allegedly fought alongside al-Qaida members in Afghanistan. He faces charges of conspiracy and supporting terrorism.

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, said the charges reflect progress for the long-delayed effort to hold Guantanamo trials.

The two detainees, who face maximum sentences of life in prison, were among 10 previously charged under a prosecution system that was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2006. Congress later authorized a new version of the tribunals.

Al-Bahlul, who had vowed to boycott the earlier proceedings, allegedly created a propaganda video entitled "The Destruction of the American Destroyer U.S.S. Cole" as well as martyr wills for two Sept. 11 hijackers, according to the charge sheet.

The sworn charges will be forwarded to the convening authority for military commissions, Susan Crawford, who can refer some or all of them for trial.