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A Free Man': Bin Laden's Former Cook Leaves Guantanamo After 14-Year Sentence Reduced

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"His local radio station quoted him saying he had suffered "unfair detention in the infamous Guantanamo prison"

Osama bin Laden's former cook and driver has been released from Guantanamo Bay to his native Sudan, according to reports, as part of a plea deal he agreed to with military prosecutors.

(Related: Report: Secret U.S. Program Releases Dangerous Insurgents In Return for 'Pledges of Peace')

Though he pleaded guilty in July 2010 to supporting terrorism by providing logistical support to al-Qaida and was sentenced to 14 years, the Pentagon legal officer overseeing Guantanamo tribunals suspended all but two of the years, according to the Associated Press.

However, the suspension was contingent on a number of conditions, including that the man not engage in "hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners."

The New York Times has more information:

It is the first time a detainee convicted under the Obama administration’s version of the military commissions system has been sent back to his native country.

[...]

Mr. Qosi, who is about 52 years old, was captured by the Pakistani military fleeing Afghanistan in December 2001, and was among the first detainees brought to Guantánamo in 2002 when the Bush administration opened the prison at the American naval base in Cuba. On July 7, 2010, he pleaded guilty before the military commission system to conspiracy and supporting terrorism.

In a confession that accompanied the guilty plea, he said that he had followed the Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, to Afghanistan in 1996 after his expulsion from Sudan, and that he performed a variety of menial tasks at his compound, including running its kitchen and sometimes serving as a driver for Bin Laden and others.

A spokesman for Sudan's foreign ministry told the AFP news agency that there had been "some sort of communication between American authorities and Sudanese authorities" ahead of his flight, and when he arrived in Khartoum he told a local radio station that he had suffered "unfair detention in the infamous Guantánamo prison.”

"He is a free man," Mr Meruh said of the 52-year-old Osama bin Laden devotee.

Paul Reichler, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who represented al Qosi pro bono, said: "I believe he is a decent and honorable person whose only desire is to go home to his family, live in peace and tranquility and engage in productive labor in his family business, and he has no desire to be associated with violent movements of any kind."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(H/T: Jihad Watch)

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