Gitmo prisoner can be indefinitely detained despite acquittal: prosecutors

US prosecutors argued Nov. 2 that even if suspected USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri is acquitted by a military tribunal, the US government has the authority to detain him in Guantánamo Bay until the end of the hostilities in the US war on terror. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Reyes, al-Nashiri’s defense attorney, argued that al-Nashiri’s inevitable indefinite detention renders his trial merely a show, and that jurors have the right to be informed that they are simply playing a role in a pre-determined political decision. Prosecutors responded that a jury’s potential to find al-Nashiri guilty and sentence him to death for war crimes is an issue separate from governmental authority to keep enemy combatants off the battlefield. Al-Nashiri’s arraignment, scheduled for Nov. 9, will be the first time he has appeared in public since his capture in 2002, followed by a series of transfers among CIA prison systems. Al-Nashiri will also be the first Guantánamo 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 over his supposed torture in a secret CIA prison in the country. In 2007, al-Nashiri declared that his confession to orchestrating the USS Cole bombing was elicited under torture. Al-Nashiri, along with fellow militant Jamal al-Badawi, was sentenced to death by a Yemeni court in 2004 for his role in the attack on the Cole. At least 17 sailors were killed and 40 were wounded in the USS Cole bombing in Aden, Yemen, on October 12, 2000.

From Jurist, Nov. 3. Used with permission.

See our last post on the detainment scandals.