Guide to the Trial: The USS Cole Bombing Case at Guantanamo Bay

The victims Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack on the Cole, which killed 17 American sailors. Credit… Thomas Kienzle/Assoc...


Credit…Thomas Kienzle/Associated Press

Seventeen sailors were killed in the attack: Kenneth E. Clodfelter, 21; Richard Costelow, 35; Lakeina M. Francis, 19; Timothy L. Gauna, 21; Cherone L. Gunn, 22; James R. McDaniels, 19; Marc I. Nieto, 24; Ronald S. Owens, 24; Labika N. Palmer, 22; Joshua L. Parlett, 19; Patrick H. Roy, 19; Kevin S. Rux, 30; Ronchester M. Santiago, 22; Timothy L. Saunders, 32; Gary G. Swenchonis Jr., 26; Andrew Triplett, 31, and Craig B. Wibberley, 19.

A victim liaison officer, who works for the prosecution, selects surviving crew members as well as family members of those killed in the attacks to observe the proceedings at Guantánamo Bay. Shipmates from that day and relatives of fallen sailors have become familiar faces in the gallery at the back of the yard, where members of the public who are admitted to the National Security Court can watch the proceedings live and hear the audio on a 40- second delay. Family members and victims of the attack can also watch a video feed of the proceedings from a viewing room in Norfolk, Va., the Cole’s home base.

Credit… Office of Military Commissions

Army Col. Lanny J. Acosta Jr., head of Guantánamo’s justice system, is currently a pretrial judge. He earned a law degree from the University of Mississippi in 1998, then earned a commission in the military. He served as a prosecutor, legal aid attorney, and staff attorney before becoming a judge in July 2015. The original judge in the case, Army Col. James L. Pohl, assigned it to the Col. of the Air Force Vance H. Spath. A higher court later overturned two years of Colonel Spath’s rulings because, while sitting on the case, he secretly sought employment with the Department of Justice, which was suing him.

Mr. Nashiri was born in 1965 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. He was captured in Dubai in October 2002 and spent around 1,390 days as a “high-value detainee” in the custody of the Central Intelligence Agency, including in black site prisons in Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay and Thailand. . In CIA custody, he was subjected to waterboarding, forced nudity, extreme solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, and other forms of abuse. Some were “enhanced interrogation techniques” devised by two CIA-contracted psychologists. In 2006, he was returned to Guantánamo and transferred to US military custody. In 2013, a panel of three army doctors carried out an assessment of Mr Nashiri’s mental health for the court and concluded that, although he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, he was fit to stand trial.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Guide to the Trial: The USS Cole Bombing Case at Guantanamo Bay
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