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Guantanamo prosecutor recommends Pentagon drop conspiracy charges

Chief prosecutor in the Guantanamo tribunal, Brigadier General Mark Martins, on Wednesday recommended that the Pentagon drop the conspiracy charge against those suspected of plotting the September 11 attacks, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [JURIST news archive]. Martins hopes to drop the charges [Miami Herald report] in order to streamline the prosecution and ensure it is not delayed by an appeal on a potential conspiracy conviction. The five involved in the capital trial will still face seven other counts of war crimes, including terrorism and hijacking. There has yet to be an official decision from the Pentagon. The next hearing is scheduled for January 28.

Controversy continues to surround the Guantanamo military trials. Last month a federal judge affirmed the denial of a habeas petition [JURIST report] for a Guantanamo detainee. Earlier that month a US military judge upheld [JURIST report] a request to censor 9/11 conspirators' testimony. In September a judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia rejected [JURIST report] new restrictions on lawyers representing Guantanamo Bay detainees who have had their habeas corpus challenges denied or dismissed. The DOD announced in 2011 that it had sworn charges against the five men [JURIST report] accused in the 9/11 attacks. In April 2011 US Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the four others would be tried by a military commission [JURIST report] after the Obama administration abandoned attempts to have the 9/11 suspects tried in civilian courts.

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