Well, this took some nerve: the military commission judge overseeing the prosecution of Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi citizen accused of plotting the 2000
Well, this took some nerve: the military commission judge overseeing the prosecution of Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi citizen accused of plotting the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, just refused President Obama’s request to delay proceedings for 120 days, The Washington Post reports.
Although the other judges all readily complied, as was widely expected, Army Colonel James Pohl decided that he found the government’s reasons for delaying proceedings “unpersuasive” and that he doesn’t have to follow the popular new president’s wishes.
“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,” Judge Pohl wrote, according to The Post.
Nashiri is scheduled for arraignment on Feb. 9. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the administration is consulting with the Justice Department to figure out what to do next.
Here’s the ACLU’s take on the situation, in a statement just released by Exec. Director Anthony Romero:
Judge Pohl’s decision to unabashedly move forward in the al-Nashiri military commission case shows how officials held over from the Bush administration are exploiting ambiguities in President Obama’s executive order as a strategy to undercut the president’s unequivocal promise to shut down Guantánamo and end the military commissions. Judge Pohl’s decision to move forward despite a clear statement from the president also raises questions about Secretary of Defense Gates – is he the ‘new Gates’ or is he the same old Gates under a new president? Secretary Gates has the power to stop the military commissions and ought to follow his new boss’ directives.
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