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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Military judges grant continuances in Guantanamo detainee cases
Christian Ehret at 9:00 AM ET

[JURIST] Two Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] military judges on Wednesday granted continuances for prosecutors in the cases of two Sudanese detainees allegedly involved with al Qaeda. Noor Uthman Mohammed [DOD materials; charge sheet, PDF], who is accused of working as a weapons instructor and logistician in Afghanistan, has already had his case delayed twice before at the request of the Department of Defense. Ibrahim al Qosi [DOD materials; charge sheet, PDF] is accused of serving as Osama Bin Laden's bodyguard and driver in Afghanistan, as a supply officer at a Jalalabad compound and as a member of a mortar crew. The continuances will make way for a decision [AP report] on whether to hold the remaining Guantanamo detainee proceedings in civilian or military court.

There are currently six active military commission proceedings at Guantanamo Bay. On Tuesday, the US Senate voted in favor [JURIST report] of a bill [HR 2892] that would permit Guantanamo detainees to be brought to the US for trial. The measure was part of a $42.7 billion Homeland Security spending bill and would require the Obama administration to develop a plan for addressing the anticipated January 2010 closure date of the facility. Last year, charges against Uthman were dismissed [JURIST reports], although he remained held until new charges were filed. Al Qosi was originally accused of being an al Qaeda payroll clerk but those charges were later dropped [Miami Herald report].

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