Military commissions overseer orders charges dropped in last Guantanamo trial

Military commissions overseer orders charges dropped in last Guantanamo trial

[JURIST] Convening authority of military commissions Susan Crawford [official profile, PDF; JURIST news archive] announced Thursday that the Pentagon has formally dropped charges [text, PDF] against suspected USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahimal al-Nashiri [DOD materials; JURIST news archive]. Crawford's order ends the last active military commission trial, complying with President Barack Obama's executive order [text; JURIST report] mandating a reprieve of the prosecution of all cases at the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST archive] military prison. The announcement that the charges against al-Nashiri would be dropped ended a conflict between the Obama administration and several US military personnel, created last week when Army Col. James Pohl rejected [order and defense response, PDF; JURIST report] the request of government prosecutors to delay the proceedings against al-Nashiri. Earlier on Thursday, Pohl announced that he would rule [order, PDF] on Monday regarding a motion concerning measures to limit al-Nashiri's ability to see and hear at his military tribunal, despite Obama's executive order. Crawford's decision to drop charges effectively supersedes the necessity for Pohl to make such a ruling.

Al-Nashiri was accused of terrorism, attempted murder, and providing material support to terrorism for his alleged role in planning the 2000 al Qaeda attack [DOD report] on the USS Cole [official website; JURIST news archive]. He was charged in June [JURIST report] under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [text, PDF; JURIST news archive]. He would have faced the death penalty if found guilty at his military commission hearing.