[JURIST] A military judge Friday rejected a motion [text, PDF] by the Pentagon's chief prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] to delay the military commission [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] hearing of the five detainees being held as 9/11 conspirators [JURIST news archive], set for Monday. Army Col. Lawrence J. Morris requested the delay in part because of uncertainty over the future [Miami Herald report] of the US military commissions in Guantanamo, saying "[T]he government cannot represent with confidence that there will not be an interruption in all commission proceedings." The hearings are in doubt based on indications that President-elect Barack Obama [transition website] that will move to close Guantanamo soon after taking office. Morris was also denied a request for delay of the pre-trial hearing of Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive], also scheduled to start Monday. Also on Friday, the lead defense council Air Force Col. Peter Masciola sent a letter [text, PDF] to the convening authority of military commissions Susan Crawford [official profile, PDF; JURIST news archive] asking that she withdraw the referrals in all pending military commission cases.
Controversial practices and policies at Guantanamo Bay have kept the military prison in the news throughout the course of the Bush administration. On Wednesday, Crawford said in an interview with the Washington Post that torture tactics were used [article text; JURIST report] in the interrogation of Mohammed al-Qahtani [JURIST news archive], a suspect held at Guantanamo under allegations of connections to the 9/11 attacks. Crawford made the statement after nearly two years of reviewing Guantanamo Bay practices as well as the strength of legal cases against detainees. On Tuesday, the chairman of the US House Judiciary Committee [official website] published a report [text, PDF] urging Obama to open a criminal investigation [JURIST report] into the alleged abuses that have occurred at Guantanamo Bay throughout the Bush administration.