Italy: court convicts former Gitmo detainee

An Italian court on Feb. 1 convicted former Guantánamo Bay detainee Mohamed Ben Riadh Nasri on terror charges and sentenced the Tunisian man to six years in prison. Prosecutors accused Nasri of working for a terror group associated with al-Qaeda while living in Milan in the 1990s. The US transferred Nasri, who was arrested in Afghanistan, from Guantánamo Bay to Italy in 2009 along with Abdel Ben Mabrouk as the part of the government’s plan to shut down the detention center. Nasri’s lawyer said he plans to appeal the conviction.

The continued operation of Guantánamo Bay remains controversial. Last month, Human Rights Watch criticized US President Barack Obama for failing to shut down the facility. In early January, Obama signed a bill barring the transfer of Guantánamo detainees to the US for trial. The legislation, the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act of 2011, bars the use of funds to transfer detainees into the US and limits funds available for transfers to foreign countries.

The administration plans to seek the repeal of these restrictions and opposes the extension or expansion of them in the future. The number of detainees at Guantánamo has been significantly reduced as the administration continues to transfer detainees to a growing list of countries including Germany, Italy, Spain, Maldives, Georgia, Albania, Latvia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Somaliland, Palau, Belgium, Afghanistan and Bermuda. There are currently 178 detainees awaiting transfer.

From Jurist, Feb. 1. Used with permission.