When Ibrahim al-Qosi agreed to a plea deal with the government, the original deal was that he’d spend a secret two year sentence (rather than the 14 year sentence announced to the public) in communal quarters. At the last minute, the judge in the case learned there’s no way to do that at Gitmo, though she did recommend that he serve his time in communal quarters.

Well, guess what? After 60 days since then of living communally, the military has moved him to isolation, having not found a way to accommodate the Convening Authority’s recommendations.

The convicted Osama bin Laden’s former cook who pleaded guilty to material support to terrorism was moved from a communal living camp in Guantanamo to live in isolation, in disregard for recommendations of the Military Commission’s Convening Authority and to his plea deal, sources told Al Arabiya.


“As has been the practice with previous detainees convicted by a Military Commission and serving punitive sentences, al-Qosi is no longer housed with detainees held solely as a function of the law of war,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Maj. Tanya Bradsher.


Al-Qosi was left in camp 4 as a result of a 60-day sentence deferment period that expired on Sunday and that was requested by the Convening Authority and in anticipation of a possible review of Pentagon rules

Moving al-Qosi does not directly breach the plea agreement but undermines recommendations of the Convening Authority requiring communal living for Al-Qosi.

Al-Arabiya’s Muna Shikaki notes that this will make it a lot harder for the Administration to craft any more plea deals. Why plead if it means conditions will get worse and if you can’t really trust the terms of the deal?

But I’m just as curious what this means for al-Qosi’s Double Secret sentence: the two years versus the fourteen years. Al-Qosi has no leverage over the government at this point. If they’re not going to make an effort to keep him in communal quarters, what kind of guarantee does he have they’ll let him go in two years?



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.