Transcript: Remarks by defense counsels on Majid Khan’s guilty plea
Transcript of remarks by Lt. Col. Jon Jackson, J. Wells Dixon, and Katya Jestin at the military commission press conference on Feb. 29, 2012:
Lt. Col Jon Jackson, defense counsel for Majid Shoukat Khan: “Good afternoon. My name is Lt. Col. Jon Jackson. I’m the detailed military lawyer for Majit Khan, along with Wells Dixon with Center for Constitutional Rights and Katya Jestin from Jenner & Block in New York.
Read more: “High value” Guantanamo detainee pleads guilty to terrorism charges“We’re very happy to be here today. We’re going to have very brief statements for you. Each of us have a couple of things to say and then we’ll be happy to take questions or whatever the PAO wants to do this.
“I’ve been now at Guantanamo doing military commissions work as a defense counsel for four years. I see a lot of familiar faces here.
“I became involved with Majid Khan in June of 2009. Wells and Katya were already on the case. And immediately, when I met Mr. Khan, you could tell he was a person who wanted a second chance at life. He was a person that, when I first met him, his initial concern was not what had happened to him, not what had happened when he was initially detained, but it was ‘What can I do to better my life – better not only my life but the life of my family?’
“And so with the work of Katya, Wells, and myself, we pretty strongly approached the government about working out some type of agreement in the case.
“It was a long hard struggle getting there. I think you saw in court today no guilty plea goes as easily as you think it will. People get nervous.
“And Mr. Khan, I can tell you, he’s remorseful. He wishes he had never been involved with Al Qaeda – ever. He wishes he had never been here at Guantanamo. And he certainly wishes he had never been involved in military commissions.
“But the fact is that’s the world that we live in and that’s the world that he lives in.
“So his next step is to cooperate. We did attempt to seal that portion of the agreement but that was released.
“And his next four years is going to be join Team America and do the right things to make sure that he has a chance at a productive, meaningful life.
“And having known him for this period of time, less than a year, I can tell you as a military officer I think he’s got a very good shot at making that happen. And with that I’ll turn it over to Wells Dixon.”
J. Wells Dixon, defense counsel for Majid Shoukat Khan, Center for Constitutional Rights:
“I just – I really want to underscore one point that Jon made and that is the fact that Majid is very remorseful and was very emotional today in court as you probably saw.
“The decision to plead guilty and to cooperate was not an easy decision for him, particularly after everything that had happened to him prior to his transfer to Guantanamo.
“As we at the Center for Constitutional Rights have alleged in our cleared filings many times, Majid was tortured prior to his arrival in Guantanamo Bay.
“But he made a decision, despite that and despite everything that’s transpired in his life, he made a decision to accept responsibility for his actions and to really try to achieve some measure of redemption in his life.
“I think the fact that he did that is a testament to the genuineness of his decision, the seriousness of his decision, and, you know, that’s his life from this point forward. That’s what he’s going to do. And he will be sentenced in four years, and it’s our hope that what happened to him prior to his transfer to Guantanamo Bay will be unsealed because it would certainly form part of his sentencing case and it should be unsealed. And the United States government should accept responsibility for what happened to him just the way he accepted responsibility today for his actions and the actions of his co-conspirators.”
Katya Jestin, defense counsel for Majid Shoukat Khan, Jenner & Block:
“I will also be brief.
“I’m Katya Jestin. I’m with Jenner & Block in New York City.
“I think the story of today is a story as both Wells and Jon said of atonement, and that’s atonement by Mr. Khan for the conduct underlying the criminal charges to which he’s pled guilty.
“I think as Mr. Khan said in court today – and I think it really resonated with us, his defense team – he’s taking a leap of faith. And he’s taking a leap of faith that this process will work the way we’re all intending it to work.
“And so I think he has taken responsibility for his conduct. He wants to move forward. And he hopes someday to be reunited with his family.
- Office of Military Commissions’ website
- Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System: Guantanamo Bay Detainee Majid Shoukat Khan Legal Team Press Conference
- Center for Constitutional Rights: J. Wells Dixon
- Jenner & Block: Katya Jestin
- WhatTheFolly.com: “High value” Guantanamo detainee pleads guilty to terrorism charges
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Gen. Mark Martins’ remarks on Majid Khan’s guilty plea
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Press conference Q&A on Majid Khan’s conviction
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Press conference Q&A with victim of the 2003 Jakarta hotel bombing