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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Charges dropped against suspect in Cole blast

From the AP:

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon says the senior military judge overseeing terror trials at Guantanamo Bay has dropped charges against a suspect in the 2000 USS Cole bombing.

The military charges against suspected al-Qaida bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri marked the last active war crimes case at Guantanamo Bay.

The legal move by Susan J. Crawford, the top legal authority for military trials at Guantanamo, brings all cases into compliance with President Barack Obama's executive order to halt terrorist court proceedings at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Crawford dismissed the charges against al-Nashiri without prejudice. That means new charges can be brought again later. He will remain in prison for the time being.

"It was her decision, but it reflects the fact that the president has issued an executive order which mandates that the military commissions be halted, pending the outcome of several reviews of our operations down at Guantanamo," Morrell said Thursday night.

The ruling also gives the White House time to review the legal cases of all 245 terror suspects held there and decide whether they should be prosecuted in the U.S. or released to other nations.

Obama was expected to meet with families of Cole and 9/11 victims at the White House on Friday afternoon to announce the move.