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Malaysian Prisoners Plead Guilty to Conspiring in 2002 Bali Bombing

WorldMalaysian Prisoners Plead Guilty to Conspiring in 2002 Bali Bombing

Two Malaysian prisoners at Guantánamo Bay pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiring in the October 2002 nightclub bombings in the resort island of Bali, Indonesia, that killed more than 200 people.

The guilty pleas were the first step in a slowly unfolding proceeding that began when the men, Mohammed Farik Bin Amin, 48, and Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep, 47, were charged in 2021 — 18 years after their capture in Thailand. Sentencing is scheduled for next week.

The pleas were also seen as a breakthrough for military commission prosecutors, who had been seeking deals to resolve long-running cases against former C.I.A. prisoners. Similar talks with the accused plotters of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, ended last year after the Biden administration declined to consider health care and confinement conditions sought by the prisoners.

Both defendants were held for years in the C.I.A.’s secret overseas prison network. They were transferred to Guantánamo Bay in 2006 for trial at the special national-security court that President George W. Bush set up after the Sept. 11 attacks. While in agency custody, according to their lawyers, they were tortured, along with their accused ringleader Encep Nurjaman, an Indonesian prisoner known as Hambali.

In pleading guilty, Mr. Bin Amin and Mr. Bin Lep agreed to testify against Mr. Hambali, the former leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah movement, an affiliate of Al Qaeda in Southeast Asia. The charges cast them as Mr. Hambali’s lieutenants or foot soldiers whom he recruited to take part in never-realized suicide bombings of U.S. targets.

Depending on what testimony they provide, prosecutors may be spared the need to use statements made by Mr. Hambali after he was tortured by the C.I.A. The question of whether confessions prisoners made after years of C.I.A. detention are tainted by torture has stalled efforts to begin the Sept. 11 and U.S.S. Cole bombing trials for more than a decade.

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