US prosecutors charge accused USS Cole mastermind

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US prosecutors charge accused USS Cole mastermind

Post  Jennie on Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:01 pm

US prosecutors charge accused USS Cole mastermind

WASHINGTON, June 30 (Reuters) - U.S. military prosecutors have filed charges against the alleged mastermind behind the bombing of the USS Cole that killed 17 U.S. sailors in 2000, a Pentagon official said on Monday.

Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi Arabian national of Yemeni descent, faces charges including murder and terrorism for the attack that took place in the Yemeni port of Aden.

Prosecutors have also filed charges against him over a failed attack on another U.S. warship and an attack on a French supertanker in 2002, Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann told reporters.

"Mr al-Nashiri is charged with organizing and directing those attacks," said Hartmann, the legal adviser to the body charged with overseeing the military commissions system set up to try prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Prosecutors filed eight charges against al-Nashiri, five of which could result in the death penalty, Hartmann said.

Al-Nashiri has said he was tortured until he confessed to involvement in the USS Cole attack and other plans, according to a hearing transcript released in March last year.

The top official supervising the military commissions will now decide whether to approve the charges against al-Nashiri. (Reporting by Andrew Gray, Editing by Kristin Roberts)

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