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National Briefing / Washington, D.c.

Cole bomb charges dropped

February 06, 2009|Times Wire Reports

The Pentagon's senior judge overseeing terrorism trials at Guantanamo Bay dropped charges against an Al Qaeda suspect in the 2000 bombing of Navy destroyer Cole, upholding President Obama's order to freeze military tribunals there.

The charges against suspected bomber Abd al Rahim al Nashiri marked the last active Guantanamo war crimes case. The legal move by Susan J. Crawford, the top legal authority for military trials at Guantanamo, brings all cases into compliance with Obama's Jan. 22 executive order to halt terrorist court proceedings at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Crawford dismissed the charges against Nashiri without prejudice, meaning new charges can be brought again later. Nashiri will remain in prison for the time being.

Obama was expected to meet with families of Cole and Sept. 11 victims at the White House this afternoon to announce the move.

Seventeen U.S. sailors died on Oct. 12, 2000, when Al Qaeda suicide bombers steered an explosives-laden boat into the Cole, a guided-missile destroyer, as it sat in a Yemen port.

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