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February 20, 2014

Saudi pleads guilty to terror charges, could get out of Guantánamo in 2017

A long-held Saudi captive pleaded guilty Thursday to terror charges for serving as a personal shopper and facilitator for al-Qaida militants plotting suicide bombings of ships in the Arabian Sea.

A long-held Saudi captive pleaded guilty Thursday to terror charges for serving as a personal shopper and facilitator for al-Qaida militants plotting suicide bombings of ships in the Arabian Sea.

Under the plea deal, Ahmad al Darbi, 39, could go home to Saudi Arabia after August 2017 to serve out the remainder of a 13- to 15-year sentence whose close clock started with the guilty plea. Meantime, he must cooperate with the government and testify at other Guantánamo war crimes trials.

Darbi appeared in court in a white button-down shirt and green tie for the proceedings. His attorney, Ramzi Kassem, announced that Darbi pleaded guilty to all the non-capital charges. They include terrorism, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects and hazarding a vessel.

In 2002, according to his charge sheet, Darbi bought navigational equipment and some vessels, mostly in the United Arab Emirates. They were intended to be used in an attack on a civilian oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz in an al-Qaida campaign to damage the global economy.

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