US appeals court vacates two convictions of ex-Qaeda propagandist

The US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on August 9, 2013A US federal appeals court vacated two convictions Monday of a former Al-Qaeda propagandist and questioned the authority of the military commissions system at Guantanamo Bay to prosecute suspects on certain charges. In a split 4-3 decision, the US Court of Appeals in Washington tossed out Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman al-Bahlul’s conviction for providing material support for terrorism and solicitation of others to commit war crimes, but rejected his challenge to a charge of conspiracy to commit war crimes. A military commission — one of the special military tribunals at Guantanamo — had convicted Bahlul of all three crimes and sentenced him to life in prison.

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