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GUANTANAMO

Pentagon drops charges against five detainees

Text by: AFP
2 min

The US Pentagon announced Tuesday that it had "dismissed without prejudice" the charges against five detainees. The charges can be introduced upon the reintroduction of new evidence.

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The Pentagon announced Tuesday that it had dropped conspiracy and terrorism charges against five Guantanamo detainees, including a Briton, but said it could reinstate them "at a later time."

"The Office of Military Commissions Convening Authority has dismissed without prejudice the pending charges against five Guantanamo detainees," said Jeffrey Gordon, a spokesman for the Department of Defense.

"Dismissed without prejudice means that the government can raise the charges again at a later time," he said.

Gordon named the detainees as Noor Uthman Mohammed of Sudan, Binyam Mohammed of Britain, Sufyiam Barhumi of Algeria, and Ghassan Abdullah al Sharbi and Jabran Said Bin al Qahtani of Saudi Arabia.

He said chief prosecutor Army Colonel Lawrence Morris has appointed new lawyers who will review available material and recommend appropriate action in each case.

Only a single trial has gone to completion in Guantanamo, that of Salim Hamdan of Yemen, a former driver for Osama bin Laden.

Hamdan's trial ended badly for government prosecutors who failed to sway a military jury, raising fresh questions about the legal front in the US "war on terror."

A jury of six military officers in August cleared the Yemeni of the most serious charge of conspiracy and imposed a remarkably light sentence of five and a half years, giving him just five more months of prison time, taking into account time served.

But his fate is uncertain, since the Pentagon said he would continue to be held at Guantanamo Bay as an enemy combatant after he serves out his sentence.

"He will serve out the rest of his sentence," Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said at the time. "At that time he will still be considered an enemy combatant. But he will be eligible for review by an Administrative Review Board."

The trial of Yemeni Ali Hamza Ahmad al-Bahlul is scheduled for Monday and that of Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen arrested at age 15, for mid-November.

In 2007, Australian David Hicks pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorism and agreed to serve the remainder of a nine-month sentence on home soil. He was released on December 29, 2007.
  

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