A military judge at Guantanamo Bay Thursday rejected President Barack Obama‘s request to suspend the trial of a Saudi accused in the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, the Pentagon said.
Seventeen U.S. sailors were killed in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen
“Judge James Pohl denied the motion” put forward by the prosecution at Obama’s request to suspend the trial for 120 days, said Defense Department spokesman J.D. Gordon, confirming a report by The Washington Post.
The Post added the Pohl had found the government’s argument “unpersuasive.”
The paper said the decision threw into disarray the administration’s plan to buy time to review the cases against some 245 prisoners still held in the Guantanamo Bay camp in southern Cuba.
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The government, Pohl wrote, sought a delay because if cases went ahead, the administration’s review could “render moot any proceedings conducted during the review”; “necessitate re-litigation of issues”; or “produce legal consequences affecting options available to the Administration after completion of the review.”
“The Commission is unaware of how conducting an arraignment would preclude any option by the administration,” said Pohl in a written opinion, which was obtained by The Post. “Congress passed the military commissions act, which remains in effect. The Commission is bound by the law as it currently exists, not as it may change in the future.”
The judge wrote that “the public interest in a speedy trial will be harmed by the delay in the arraignment.”