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Hearing begins for suspect in bombing of U.S. destroyer Cole

February 04, 2013|By Michael Muskal
  • This image provided by the U.S. Navy shows damage sustained on the port side of the guided missile destroyer Cole after it was attacked in the waters off Yemen in October 2000.
This image provided by the U.S. Navy shows damage sustained on the port side… (U.S. Navy )

A four-day pretrial hearing of a man accused of being a mastermind of the attack on the U.S. destroyer Cole kicked off Monday with the judge ruling against the defense, which says the government has eavesdropped on its confidential conversations.

Army Col. James L. Pohl denied a defense motion to halt a pretrial hearing for Abd Rahim Nashiri, accused of overseeing the bombing in October 2000 of the Cole in Yemen. Seventeen U.S. sailors were killed and 37 wounded in the bombing.

Pohl said he has not seen any evidence the government eavesdropped on private conversations between the prisoner and his lawyers, according to the Associated Press.

After the ruling was announced, the court went into recess to allow lawyers time to consult with their client and determine whether they will continue representing Nashiri, who has been in U.S. custody since 2006.

Defense attorneys have said they may seek to postpone the hearing amid questions raised last week about whether a third-party government agency is capable of eavesdropping on conversations between the defendant and his lawyers.

There are numerous pretrial motions pending, according to the Associated Press. Among them is one that seeks to stop the government from restraining the defendant with belly chains while moving him around the U.S. prison in Cuba.

The case is being tried at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. A video feed is sent to Fort Meade in Maryland, where it is monitored by the Associated Press and other news outlets.

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