Terrorism Trials & Investigations

Hearings Resume Tomorrow in United States v. Al-Nashiri

By Wells Bennett
Monday, June 10, 2013, 3:44 PM

We interrupt the week's Snowden-related coverage with this tiny reminder: at 9 a.m. tomorrow, hearings resume in the military commission case of United States v. Al-Nashiri.   As always, we'll follow the Guantanamo session from Fort Meade, via a nearly-live, closed circuit television feed.

Proceedings were last held in February, when the military judge ordered an examination into the accused's fitness for trial.  Thereafter, a psychiatric evaluation board found that Al-Nashiri suffers from depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but that these problems did not preclude him from understanding the capital charges against him, or from taking part in his defense.  (His lawyers long have linked the accused's mental condition to his abusive interrogation while in CIA custody.)   The next scheduled hearing, in April, did not go forward; instead, the court granted a defense request to postpone, in light of recent episodes relating to the security of defense communications.

We'll certainly hear about that during the week-long session, the agenda for which can be found here.  There's a defense request to inquire into the extent of past monitoring at GTMO facilities for meetings between detainees and their clients (AE149c).  The schedule's 23 other items include, among other things, defense motions to alter the case's protective order, so as to obtain the assistance of a defense-aligned security officer (AE13J); and to take judicial notice that the Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause applies to the war crimes case against Al-Nashiri (AE109).  Defense lawyers also have renewed their efforts to dismiss standalone conspiracy and terrorism charges, in light of the D.C. Circuit's decision in Hamdan II  (AE048C and AE049c, respectively).  Recall that, as regards conspiracy, prosecutors do not object to that count's dismissal---in both Al-Nashiri's and the 9/11 case---provided that the charge sheet is amended so as to reflect a theory of vicarious co-conspirator liability.

Tune in tomorrow.