War on Terrorism

Friday, April 13, 2012

Judge Sets New Deadline for Nashiri Defense Team

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON  – A military judge has given defense lawyers an extension to May 1 to provide a theory of the case in the United States vs. Abd al-Rahim Hussein Mohammed Abdu al-Nashiri.

Army Col. James Pohl, the trial judge in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, originally set a deadline of April 17.

Nashiri is the alleged mastermind of the terror attack on the USS Cole in October 2000 in the Aden, Yemen, harbor that killed 17 sailors and wounded 39 others.

Defense attorneys asked for a 90-day extension, saying they didn’t have time to properly read and evaluate more than 70,000 pages of data by April 17. The government provided the data – both classified and unclassified – to the defense under the rules of the Military Commissions Act.

Defense attorney Navy Cmdr. Stephen Reyes said the effort was delayed for two weeks when classified information was found in the unclassified data.

Pohl gave the defense two extra weeks to submit their theory of the case to him. Submitting the theory of the case is not a required step, but it would be in the interest of the defendant to do so, officials explained. If the defense fails to present the theory by the deadline, the case can still continue.

The judge granted a defense motion to get information from the Yemeni government and denied another that would have required the government to include irrelevant information in discovery documents.

Finally, the judge ordered the defense team to submit a written response on allowing defense counsel Michel Paradis to remain on the case. He set a deadline of May 14 for that response.

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