6 Feb 2009

US drops charges against warship bombing suspect

9:05 pm on 6 February 2009

A United States judge has withdrawn charges against a Guantanamo detainee accused over a deadly attack on an American warship.

This follows an order by US President Barack Obama that all military trials at the facility should be halted until his administration considers how best to deal with terror suspects.

This latest intervention by Mr Obama will guarantee the halt of the US military commissions at Guantanamo.

Though Mr Obama had requested that all trials for 100 days, one US military judge insisted that her hearing would continue.

Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi national, has been accused of being involved in the attack on the warship USS Cole had been due to appear in court in Guantanamo on Monday.

The attack on the warship killed 17 US sailors in the Yemeni port of Aden in 2000.

All the charges against Mr Nashiri will be dropped. However, the charges will be dismissed without prejudice, meaning new charges can still be laid against him at a later date.

He is expected to remain in custody for the time being.

Mr Obama has ordered that the Guantanamo detention centre in Cuba is to be shut down.