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Guantanamo’s 3 Best-Known Detainees Face New Charges February 3, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Military News, US News.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP)–The U.S. military prepared new charges Friday against three of the best-known detainees at Guantanamo Bay – a key step toward resuming the military tribunals for terrorism suspect that were halted by the Supreme Court last year.

Authorities drafted new charges that include murder, conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism, against Canadian Omar Khadr, Australian David Hicks and Salim Ahmed Hamdan of Yemen, said Air Force Col. Morris Davis, chief prosecutor in the Guantanamo war crimes trials.

Under military rules, the trials are not considered formally filed against the detainees until they are approved by a U.S. Department of Defense legal adviser and another official who oversees the military tribunals of Guantanamo detainees.

That process is expected to take two weeks, Davis said. Court hearings are not expected to begin at Guantanamo until at least the spring.

Previously, the military had charged 10 Guantanamo detainees and had begun pretrial hearings on the U.S. Navy base in southeastern Cuba. The tribunals were halted by the Supreme Court decision that the tribunal rules violated U.S. and international law.

Congress passed a new law authorizing the military commissions and President George W. Bush signed it into law in October. The military then drafted a new set of rules for military commissions that have drawn criticism because they permit coerced or hearsay evidence.

The military has said it plans to charge about 60-80 of the detainees at Guantanamo, where nearly 400 men are held on suspicion of links to al-Qaida or the Taliban.

Davis said it made sense to start with Hicks, Khadr and Hamdan, a former driver for Osama bin Laden, because all were among those previously charged.

“Those three have been around for a while, and they were prepared and ready to go,” he said.

Hicks, a former kangaroo skinner who converted to Islam in his native Australia, allegedly fought for the Taliban before he was captured in Afghanistan. Toronto-born Khadr, who is accused of killing an American soldier in Afghanistan, has allegedly admitted to being a trained al-Qaida terrorist. Hamdan has admitted working for bin Laden but denies any links to terrorism.


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