Guantanamo prisoner can be indefinitely detained despite acquittal: prosecutors

[JURIST] US prosecutors argued Wednesday that even if suspected USS Cole [JURIST news archive] bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri [NYT profile; JURIST news archive] is acquitted by a military tribunal, the US government has the authority to detain him [text, PDF] in Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] until the end of the hostilities in the US war on terror [JURIST news archive]. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Reyes, Al-Nashiri's defense attorney, argued that Al-Nashiri's inevitable indefinite detention renders his trial merely a show [JURIST report] that lacks meaningful reprieve, and that jurors have the right to be informed that they are simply playing a role in a pre-determined political decision. Prosecutors have responded that the tribunal's jurisdiction over the fate of the accused has always been limited and that a jury's potential to find Al-Nashiri guilty and ultimately sentence him to death for war crimes [Miami Herald report] is an issue separate from governmental authority to keep enemy combatants off the battlefield. Al-Nashiri's arraignment, scheduled for November 9, will be the first time has has appeared in public since his capture in 2002 after a series of transfers among CIA prison systems. Al-Nashiri will also be the first Guantanamo prisoner to face a possible death sentence.

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.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.