Guantanamo lawyer challenges possibility of indefinite detention despite acquittal

Guantanamo lawyer challenges possibility of indefinite detention despite acquittal

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[JURIST] The lawyer for suspected USS Cole [JURIST news archive] bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri [NYT profile; JURIST news archive] has filed a challenge [motion, PDF] to the method in which Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] military tribunals are conducted. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Reyes asserts that the Pentagon will never release prisoners like al-Nashiri [AP report], thus rendering trials moot. In the motion, released to the public on Monday, Reyes suggests that the Pentagon warn officers who serve as jurors from the start if a prisoner is to be held indefinitely:

Each of the participants involved in this case, especially the Members of the Commission, need to know whether they are participating in a trial with real consequences of “merely a trial in name” where the political decision, already made and confirmed, will inform the result. If the latter, the Judge, the prosecutors, defense counsel and importantly the members may say, “I do not want to be a part of such a proceeding.” And for some, their oaths may include participation in such a trial.

Al-Nashiri, scheduled to be arraigned on November 9 at Guantanamo, is being charged [materials] with murder, terrorism and conspiracy and faces the death penalty if convicted. Prosecutors have not yet responded to Reyes’ motion.

Al-Nashiri, the alleged plotter of the USS Cole bombing, has been at the center of controversy for many years. In May, lawyers for al-Nashiri filed suit against Poland [JURIST report] over his supposed torture in a secret CIA prison [JURIST news archive] in the country. In 2007, al-Nashiri declared that his confession to orchestrating the USS Cole bombing was elicited under torture [JURIST report]. Al-Nashiri, along with fellow militant Jamal al-Badawi [FBI backgrounder], was sentenced to death [JURIST report] by a Yemeni court in 2004 for his role in the attack on the Cole. At least 17 sailors were killed [BBC report] and 40 were wounded in the USS Cole bombing in Aden, Yemen, on October 12, 2000.