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Obama directs prosecutors to seek Guantanamo military commissions delay

[JURIST] US President Barack Obama [official website] on his first day in office Tuesday directed [motion, PDF] military prosecutors to pursue a 120-day continuance in military commission proceedings at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] against five alleged 9/11 co-conspirators [DOD materials], including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The motion cites the new administration's desire to evaluate the detainees' cases and determine the proper forum for future prosecution. Similar motions are expected to be filed [Washington Post report] in all pending military commission cases, presumably including proceedings [JURIST report] set to begin against Omar Khadr [DOD materials], a Canadian who allegedly killed a US soldier in Afghanistan. It was unclear how Obama's order would affect a sanity hearing [Miami Herald report] that was scheduled for Wednesday morning in the trial of Ramzi bin al Shibh [HRW profile], one of the alleged 9/11 co-conspirators.

Advisers to Obama have said he plans to issue an executive order [JURIST report] during his first week in office closing the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. On Saturday, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced it had transferred six detainees [JURIST report] out of Guantanamo Bay. Last week, a judge on the US District Court for the District of Columbia granted habeas [JURIST report] to Chadian detainee Mohammed El Gharani and directed his release. An ongoing hunger strike [JURIST report] at Guantanamo now involves 42 detainees.

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