KHARTOUM, July 11- Osama bin Laden’s former cook and driver Ibrahim al-Qosi returned to his native Sudan on Wednesday after more than a decade of imprisonment at the US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
“He is a free man,” Sudanese foreign ministry spokesman Al-Obeid Meruh told AFP shortly after Qosi, 50, touched down in Khartoum early in the morning on a US military aircraft.
Qosi was the first Guantanamo detainee to be tried by military tribunal under revised rules introduced by the administration of President Barack Obama.
The United States confirmed the transfer in a statement Wednesday. Court documents in August 2010 showed that Qosi’s 14-year sentence would be suspended this month and that he would be returned to Sudan.
Under a plea deal in July 2010, Qosi admitted guilt on charges of conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism.
He had been held at the US-run Guantanamo prison since 2002.
Qosi acknowledged under oath that he had backed Al-Qaeda since 1996 and had followed bin Laden to Afghanistan, where he worked as a cook at a compound in Jalalabad and also served as a bookkeeper and logistics chief.
Bin Laden, the world’s most wanted man, was killed in a US raid on his Pakistan hideout in May last year.
Meruh said there had been “some sort of communication between American authorities and Sudanese authorities” over the Qosi case, and a team from the United States visited Sudan last month to finalize details.
Bin Laden lived in Sudan for about five years until he was forced to leave in 1996.
The United States imposed sanctions on Sudan in 1997, partly for its support of international terrorism.
According to the Pentagon, 168 detainees are still being held at the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.