A military judge has thrown a curve into the Obama administration’s plan to suspend legal proceedings at Guantanamo Bay, denying the government’s request to delay the case of a detainee accused of planning the 2000 attack on the USS Cole.
To halt proceedings for 120 days, as Obama wants in order to conduct a review, the Pentagon may now be forced to temporarily withdraw charges against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and possibly 20 other detainees facing trial in military commissions, including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Nashiri, a Saudi citizen of Yemeni descent, is facing arraignment Feb. 9 on capital charges relating to the al-Qaida strike on the Cole in Yemen that killed 17 U.S. service members and injured 50 others in October 2000.
Army Col. James Pohl, chief military judge at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, said that he found the government’s arguments “unpersuasive” and that the case will go ahead because “the public interest in a speedy trial will be harmed by the delay in the arraignment.”
The Washington Post article is here.