US counter-terrorism officials have indicated that the administration of President Barack Obama [official website; JURIST news archive] is considering trying the former leader of Hezbollah [JURIST news archive] in a military commission [JURIST news archive] on US soil, the Associated Press reported [AP report] Monday. According to anonymous officials, the Obama administration is considering the controversial move because they believe that the best place to try Ali Mussa Daqduq is a US military base. Daqduq was captured in Iraq in 2007, where he is currently being held. He is linked to a raid in Karbala, Iraq, which killed four American soldiers and is believed to have ties to Iran. If a US military tribunal hears the case, it will mark the first time a military commission has been held on US soil since 9/11 [JURIST backgrounder]. If no decision is made by the end of the year, Daqduq must be transferred to the custody of Iraqi officials according to a 2008 agreement between the US and Bagdad. Some have suggested that Daqduq be tried at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] as an alternative to a trial in the US.
The location of the trials of foreign terror suspects detained by the US has been a controversial issue. In July, the US brought Somali terror suspect Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame to the US to face a civil trial in New York [JURIST report], a decision that has sparked harsh criticism from members of Congress who argued that terror suspects should be held at Guantanamo Bay. Obama ordered military commissions of detainees to resume [JURIST report] in March after he initially suspended new charges at Guantanamo Bay shortly after taking office in 2009. US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] has consistently advocated [JURIST report] that terror suspects should be tried in civilian courts despite finding little support from Congress. In April, Holder announced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and four other co-conspirators will be tried before a military commission [JURIST report] for their roles in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Holder, who wanted the accused be tried before a federal civilian court [JURIST report], referred the cases to the Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] after Congress imposed a series of restrictions [JURIST report] barring the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the US.