By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2012 – U.S. military commission proceedings against a suspect in the October 2000 USS Cole bombing and other alleged terrorist attacks are scheduled to resume in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, tomorrow.
Alleged al-Qaida member and Saudi-born Abd al Rahim Hussayn Muhammad al-Nashiri, 46, is accused of being the mastermind behind the bombing of the Navy warship, defense officials said.
Charges against Nashiri also stem from an attempted attack on the USS The Sullivans in January 2000, and an attack on the French-flagged oil tanker Limburg in October 2002.
Nashiri is charged with perfidy, or treachery; murder in violation of the law of war; attempted murder in violation of the law of war; terrorism; conspiracy; intentionally causing serious bodily injury; attacking civilian objects and hazarding a vessel.
The Cole was in Aden, Yemen, for a routine fuel stop when a small watercraft approached the ship’s port side and exploded. The bombing killed 17 sailors and wounded 40 others. U.S. officials allege Nashiri was under the supervision of Osama bin Laden, and that bin Laden personally approved the attacks.
The judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, is expected to hear up to 18 motions from the defense and three from the prosecution over the next three days. The majority of motions from the defense involve disclosure from prosecutors, appearances by expert witnesses and dismissal of the trial, officials said.
The U.S. prosecution’s motions concern Nashiri’s presence in the courtroom, reducing the amount of the proceedings that are closed as compelled by the defense, and disclosure of the defendant’s mental health records.
If convicted, Nashiri could receive the death penalty.