Accused USS Cole bomber boycotts pretrial hearing

[JURIST] Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] detainee Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri [NYT profile; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday boycotted his pretrial hearing at the facility. Al-Nashiri is accused of bombing the USS Cole [US Navy backgrounder] while it was in port in Yemen in October 2000. Al-Nashiri objected to the use of belly chains while he was brought from his cell to the courtroom for the proceedings. Navy officials have stated [AP report] that while belly chains are used when moving certain detainees within the facility, they would not have been used on al-Nashiri before Tuesday's hearing. The hearing was to determine if Yemen was at war with the US at the time of the bombing, a decision that will be used to determine al-Nashiri's status as an enemy combatant.

Conducting trials at Guantanamo Bay has stirred controversy recently, as alleged conspirators of both the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the USS Cole bombing are being tried. In September Military Judge James Pohl ruled [JURIST report] that he did not have the authority to allow media to broadcast al-Nashiri's trial. In February Pohl ruled [JURIST report] in al-Nashiri's case that attorney-client mail that was inspected at Guantanamo Bay can not be released by the Pentagon [official website]. Days before that ruling defense lawyers in the case of another Guantanamo detainee filed a suit [JURIST report] challenging the order for officials to read all legal correspondence for suspected 9/11 conspirators.

 

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