Entries tagged with “Guantanamo Bay

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Sep 07, 2023

9/​11 Victims’ Family Members, Members of Congress Urge Biden Administration to Abandon Plea Negotiations with Guantanamo Detainees

Family mem­bers of some of the vic­tims of 9/​11 have asked the Biden Administration to aban­don cur­rent plea nego­ti­a­tions with Guantánamo detainees that would remove the pos­si­bil­i­ty of death sen­tences for the men accused of plan­ning the 9/​11 ter­ror attacks. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his four co-defen­dants have been held for more than twen­ty years, first at CIA black sites where they were sub­ject to enhanced inter­ro­ga­tion tech­niques” and then at Guantánamo, but none has pro­ceed­ed to tri­al. The request came after fam­i­ly mem­bers were noti­fied by the Pentagon on August…

State & Federal Info

Military

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Jul 16, 2018

Amid War-Court Turmoil, Guantánamo Death-Penalty Judge Retires From Military Service

The U.S. Air Force has announced that the Guantánamo mil­i­tary commission’s USS Cole death-penal­ty judge, Air Force Colonel Vance Spath (pic­tured) is retir­ing, inject­ing new uncer­tain­ty into war court pro­ceed­ings already steeped in chaos. In a one-sen­tence email to the McClatchey news ser­vice on July 5, an Air Force spokesper­son con­firmed that Spath has an approved retire­ment date of Nov. 1, 2018,” well before the con­tro­ver­sial tri­al pro­ceed­ings in the cap­i­tal pros­e­cu­tion of Abd al Rahim al Nashiri are expect­ed to begin.

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Human Rights

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Military

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Jul 21, 2021

At Odds with Biden Administration’s Concern Over Use of Statements Obtained by Torture, Chief Guantánamo Prosecutor Retires

After clash­ing with Biden admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials over the pro­pri­ety of using state­ments obtained through tor­ture from Guantánamo detainees, Army Brigadier General Mark S. Martins (pic­tured), the chief pros­e­cu­tor in the Guantánamo Military Commissions tri­als, will retire from the mil­i­tary on September 30, 2021. Martins, who had served as the com­mis­sions’ chief pros­e­cu­tor through­out the Obama and Trump admin­is­tra­tions, abrupt­ly sub­mit­ted papers on July 7 pro­vid­ing notice of his ear­ly retire­ment. Gen. Martins had recent­ly sought and obtained an exten­sion of his Guantánamo assign­ment until January 12023.

State & Federal Info

Military

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Jan 10, 2019

Chaos Continues in Guantánamo Death-Penalty Trial, As Another Military Judge Quits

The already chaot­ic Guantánamo death-penal­ty tri­al of Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, accused of orches­trat­ing the October 2000 attack on the U.S. Navy destroy­er USS Cole, hit anoth­er snag as the most recent judge assigned to pre­side over the con­tro­ver­sial pro­ceed­ings will be leav­ing the mil­i­tary and quit­ting the case. In a January 4, 2019 appel­late plead­ing recent­ly obtained by the McClatchy News Service, pros­e­cu­tors advised the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that Air Force Colonel Shelley Schools (pic­tured), assigned in August 2018 as the…

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Human Rights

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Military

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Aug 22, 2023

Confessions of Guantanamo Detainee in Death Penalty Case Excluded as Product of Torture

On August 18, 2023, a mil­i­tary judge in Guantanamo Bay over­see­ing the pre­tri­al cap­i­tal pros­e­cu­tion of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the Saudi nation­al accused of orga­niz­ing the October 2000 bomb­ing of the U.S.S. Cole, exclud­ed Mr. al-Nishiri’s con­fes­sions as the prod­uct of tor­ture. Exclusion of such evi­dence is not with­out soci­etal costs,” said the judge, Col. Lanny J. Acosta Jr., in a 50-page deci­sion. However, per­mit­ting the admis­sion of evi­dence obtained by or derived from tor­ture by the same gov­ern­ment that seeks to pros­e­cute and exe­cute the accused may have even greater…

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Representation

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Federal Death Penalty

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Military

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Apr 04, 2008

Death Penalty Poses Problems for Military Commission Trials

After the Pentagon announced ear­li­er this year that it would seek the death penal­ty for six Guantánamo Bay detainees, lit­tle progress has been made in the case. According to The American Lawyer, the mil­i­tary com­mis­sions have had dif­fi­cul­ties in find­ing qual­i­fied and will­ing defense attor­neys to rep­re­sent the six men who are accused of plan­ning the September 11 attacks. Tom Fleener, a for­mer mil­i­tary lawyer, said, I don’t believe any [of the 15 attor­neys in the office of the chief defense coun­sel] would meet the stan­dards of the American Bar…

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Human Rights

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Military

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Feb 15, 2022

Department of Justice Reverses Course, Rejects Use of Evidence Obtained by Torture in Guantánamo Death Penalty Case

In what one ana­lyst described as an impor­tant step to restore the rule of law,” the U.S. Department of Justice has pledged not to use state­ments obtained by tor­ture in its Guantánamo Military Commissions pros­e­cu­tion of Abd Al-Rahim Hussein Al-Nashiri. Al-Nashiri is accused of mas­ter­mind­ing the Al Qaeda sui­cide bomb­ing of the U.S.S. Cole that killed 17 U.S. sailors in October 2000. The U.S. gov­ern­ment is seek­ing the death penal­ty against him.

State & Federal Info

Military

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Aug 10, 2017

Federal Appeals Court Removes Military Judge From Case For Comments Prejudging 9/​11 Detainee’s Guilt

A fed­er­al appeals court in Washington has ordered the recusal of a mil­i­tary judge from hear­ing an appeal in the Guantánamo mil­i­tary com­mis­sion death penal­ty tri­al of five defen­dants accused of direct respon­si­bil­i­ty for the 9/​11 attacks. A unan­i­mous three-judge pan­el of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled on August 8 that Judge Scott L. Silliman of the United States Court of Military Commission Review (CMCR) was dis­qual­i­fied from par­tic­i­pat­ing in appeals in the case because of pri­or pub­lic com­ments he had made…

State & Federal Info

Military

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Apr 17, 2019

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Two Years of Guantánamo Tribunal Decisions in USS Cole Case

A civil­ian fed­er­al appeals court has dealt anoth­er blow to the Guantánamo mil­i­tary com­mis­sion death-penal­ty pro­ceed­ings, strik­ing more than two years of deci­sions in the USS Cole bomb­ing pros­e­cu­tion of Abd Al-Rahim Hussein Muhammed Al-Nashiri because of a mil­i­tary judge’s undis­closed con­flict of inter­est. Al-Nashiri faces cap­i­tal charges for his alleged role in the sui­cide bomb­ing attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000 in which 17 U.S. Navy sailors were killed and anoth­er 39 were injured.

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Federal Death Penalty

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Military

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May 02, 2018

Guantánamo Bay

Six detainees charged with cap­i­tal crimes are cur­rent­ly being held at the U.S. Naval Base mil­i­tary prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Much of the infor­ma­tion relat­ing to these cas­es is clas­si­fied and all the par­tic­i­pants in the cas­es — pros­e­cu­tors, defense lawyers, and court per­son­nel — are required to have top secret secu­ri­ty clear­ance. As a result, sig­nif­i­cant por­tions of the pro­ceed­ings — includ­ing court motions and deci­sions — are heav­i­ly redact­ed or kept secret from the pub­lic. In addi­tion, the cas­es involve high­ly clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion about the use of tor­ture to extract con­fes­sions and obtain infor­ma­tion. In…

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Human Rights

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Mental Illness

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Federal Death Penalty

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Military

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Sep 28, 2023

Guantanamo Bay Judge Rules 9/​11 Capital Defendant Mentally Incompetent to Stand Trial

On September 21, 2023, a mil­i­tary judge in Guantanamo Bay ruled that Ramzi Bin al Shibh, one of five defen­dants in the 9/​11 case for whom the death penal­ty is being sought, is men­tal­ly incom­pe­tent to stand tri­al. Mr. Bin al Shibh, who has been detained for 21 years, will remain in cus­tody at Guantanamo as author­i­ties attempt to treat the post-trau­mat­ic stress dis­or­der caused when he was forced to under­go enhanced inter­ro­ga­tions” by the U.S. government.

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Human Rights

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Military

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Sep 16, 2022

Guantánamo Prosecutor Who Advocated Use of Torture Testimony Removed from U.S.S. Cole Bombing Case

A sec­ond mil­i­tary com­mis­sions pros­e­cu­tor who had advo­cat­ed using tes­ti­mo­ny obtained by tor­ture against defen­dants in the death penal­ty tri­al of the Guantánamo detainees charged with the October 2000 bomb­ing of the U.S.S. Cole (pic­tured) in waters off the coast of Yemen has been removed from the case.

Policy Issues

Representation

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Military

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Feb 20, 2018

Lack of Death-Penalty Counsel Brings Guantánamo War Crimes Trial to a Halt

A Guantánamo mil­i­tary com­mis­sion judge has indef­i­nite­ly sus­pend­ed pro­ceed­ings in the death-penal­ty tri­al of Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, accused of plan­ning al-Qaida’s alleged 2000 bomb­ing of the Navy war­ship USS Cole off the coast of Yemen. Expressing exas­per­a­tion over his con­tin­u­ing inabil­i­ty to com­pel civil­ian death-penal­ty lawyers to return to the case, Air Force Colonel Vance Spath (pic­tured) halt­ed the pro­ceed­ings on February 16. I am abat­ing these pro­ceed­ings indef­i­nite­ly,” Spath said. We’re done until a supe­ri­or court tells me to keep going.”

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Military

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Mar 22, 2017

Lawyers Seek Supreme Court Review Of Alleged Torture As Accused USS Cole Bomber Awaits Capital Trial

Lawyers for Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, the man accused of plot­ting the bomb­ing of the USS Cole in 2000, are seek­ing U.S. Supreme Court inter­ven­tion to pre­vent his tri­al before a mil­i­tary tri­bunal in which Nashiri faces the death penal­ty if con­vict­ed. The peti­tion for a writ of cer­tio­rari asks the Court to allow Nashiri’s lawyers to chal­lenge his mil­i­tary deten­tion — and efforts to try him in a mil­i­tary tri­bunal rather than a civil­ian court — because the CIA admit­ted­ly sub­ject­ed him to 14 years of phys­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal and sex­u­al torture.”

Policy Issues

Prosecutorial Accountability

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Military

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Aug 20, 2018

Military Commission Bars Guantánamo Death-Penalty Prosecutors From Using Statements by 9/​11 Detainees

A Guantánamo mil­i­tary com­mis­sion judge has barred pros­e­cu­tors from using state­ments five accused 9/​11 plot­ters made to the FBI after they had been sub­ject­ed to years of tor­ture in CIA black sites. On August 17, 2018, the mil­i­tary judge, Army Colonel James L. Pohl (pic­tured), sup­pressed all use of the state­ments, rul­ing that restric­tions pros­e­cu­tors had placed on the abil­i­ty of defense coun­sel to inter­view wit­ness­es and inves­ti­gate the tor­ture made it impos­si­ble for the defense to mean­ing­ful­ly chal­lenge the state­ments’ vol­un­tari­ness and reliability.

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Human Rights

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New Voices

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Military

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Feb 14, 2023

NEW VOICES: Ted Olson, Solicitor General in the Bush Administration, Calls for End to Guantánamo Death Penalty Cases

In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, Theodore B. Olson, for­mer U.S. Solicitor General from 2001 to 2004 dur­ing President George W. Bush’s admin­is­tra­tion, called for a halt to the use of the death penal­ty against those impli­cat­ed in the ter­ror­ist attacks of 9/​11. He rec­om­mend­ed that the cap­i­tal pro­ceed­ings against the defen­dants being held in Guantánamo Bay be brought to as rapid and just a con­clu­sion as possible.”

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Representation

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Military

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Feb 14, 2018

Pentagon Fires War Court Official Who Was Attempting to Negotiate End to Guantánamo Death-Penalty Trial

The sud­den fir­ing by U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (left) of the Pentagon offi­cial who over­saw mil­i­tary com­mis­sion tri­als at Guantánamo Bay has raised con­cerns of polit­i­cal inter­fer­ence in the already tumul­tuous legal pro­ceed­ings in the death-penal­ty tri­als of the five men charged with plot­ting the 9/​11 attacks on the United States.

State & Federal Info

Federal Death Penalty

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Military

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Mar 18, 2022

Plea Talks Are Under Way in Guantánamo September 11 Case that Could Take Death Penalty Off the Table

Military pros­e­cu­tors and defense attor­neys are report­ed­ly dis­cussing plea deals that could take the death penal­ty off the table in the Guantánamo mil­i­tary com­mis­sion cas­es of five men accused of involve­ment in the September 11, 2001 ter­ror­ist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The nego­ti­a­tions, first report­ed by the New York Times on March 15, 2022 and sub­se­quent­ly con­firmed by defense coun­sel, would require alleged 9/​11 plan­ner Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four oth­ers to plead guilty to charges of ter­ror­ism and con­spir­a­cy to com­mit mur­der in violation…

State & Federal Info

Military

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Sep 11, 2017

Sixteen Years Later, No Date in Sight for Death-Penalty Trial of Alleged 9/​11 Conspirators

Sixteen years lat­er, the alleged per­pe­tra­tors of the September 11, 2001 hijack­ings and attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, and the down­ing of Flight 93, have yet to be tried, and issues relat­ing to the use of evi­dence obtained by tor­ture, the appro­pri­ate­ness and legal­i­ty of tri­als by mil­i­tary com­mis­sion, and where and how they should be tried raise ques­tions as to whether and when a tri­al may take place. The five men charged in the attack — alleged mas­ter­mind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and alleged co-con­spir­a­tors Walid bin Attash, Ramzi…

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International

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Crimes Punishable by Death

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Military

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Feb 11, 2008

U.S. to Seek Death Penalty under New Military Commissions

The U.S. gov­ern­ment has decid­ed to seek the death penal­ty against six Guantánamo detainees who are accused of hav­ing cen­tral roles in the ter­ror­ist attacks of September 11, 2001. The defen­dants will be tried before Military Commissions, which are nei­ther part of the fed­er­al crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem nor the mil­i­tary’s jus­tice sys­tem for its own mem­bers. The laws and pro­ce­dures under the Military Commission Act of 2006 have not been test­ed and had to be re-writ­ten after the gov­ern­men­t’s first attempt was found uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. One per­son has been con­vict­ed under…

Policy Issues

Prosecutorial Accountability

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Representation

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Foreign Nationals

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Federal Death Penalty

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Military

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Oct 16, 2017

USS Cole Lawyers Resign From Guantánamo Death-Penalty Defense, Say Government Spied on Client Communications

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied review of a peti­tion filed by lawyers on behalf of Abd al Rahim al Nashiri—accused of orches­trat­ing al-Qaida’s October 12, 2000 sui­cide bomb­ing of the USS Cole war­ship off the coast of Yemen—chal­leng­ing the legal­i­ty of his death penal­ty tri­al before a Guantánamo Bay mil­i­tary com­mis­sion. But in what has been described as a stun­ning set­back” to what would have been the first death-penal­ty tri­al held before the spe­cial mil­i­tary tri­bunals estab­lished in the wake of the 9/​11 attacks, the entire civil­ian legal team…