Gitmo Prosecutors: Don’t Tell Jury Suspect Can’t Be Freed

Thursday, 03 Nov 2011 02:55 PM

By Andra Varin

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Pentagon prosecutors say a military judge should not let jurors know that if they acquit a terror suspect charged in a death-penalty case, the man still will not go free.

Abd al Rahim al Nashiri is charged with war crimes in the bombing in a Yemeni port of the USS Cole. He was captured in 2002 and is being held at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

He could be sentenced to death if convicted by a military tribunal at Camp Justice.

Defense attorneys want the jury to know that if they acquit Nashiri, that doesn’t mean the Saudi-born suspect will go free. He could still very likely remain at the Gitmo prison camp.

The defense argued that some potential jurors might not want to serve on a case if they knew they would not have the power to free an innocent man.

But in a court document obtained by The Miami Herald, military prosecutors argue that the judge should keep this from potential jurors. They argued that what happens to the defendant after trial was an entirely separate issue.

“The government cannot know if the hostilities in which al-Qaida and the United States remain engaged will cease before the conclusion of the trial of the accused,” prosecutors also noted.

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