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Federal appeals court refuses to stop military trial for alleged USS Cole bomber
Federal appeals court refuses to stop military trial for alleged USS Cole bomber

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official circuit] refused [text, PDF] Wednesday to halt the military trial of the suspect charged with orchestrating the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, which killed 17 US Navy sailors [AP report]. Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri was captured in 2002 and has been held in secret prisons and Guantanamo Bay ever since, where he allegedly faced multiple forms of torture during interrogation. He argued that his case should be tried in a US court rather than by a military commission, not only because a military commission might aggravate him psychologically, but he fears he may not receive a fair hearing from the same entity that put him through such harm. However, the court of appeals, in a 2-1 decision, determined that the facts of his detainment do not give reason to believe he will receive an unfair hearing. The court also stated that the military commission is more than capable to determine whether al-Nashiri was captured outside the context of hostilities.

The proceedings surrounding the prosecution of the USS Cole bombing [JURIST news archive] have given rise to numerous due process concerns. In September 2015 the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] ordered [JURIST report] the release of Sudanese funds held by New York banks to satisfy a $315 million default judgment in the USS Cole case. In 2007 alleged al-Nashiri declared that his confession to orchestrating the USS Cole bombing was elicited under torture [JURIST report]. Nashiri made his first court appearance [JURIST report] in November 2011 after he was captured in Dubai in 2002. Nashiri is charged with war crimes relating to the bombing of the USS Cole, the bombing of the MV Limburg in 2002 and a failed plot to attack an American warship, The Sullivans, in 2000. In March of last year a US military judge ruled [JURIST report] that the medical care provided to al-Nashiri by authorities at the Guantanamo Bay detention center was adequate.