Charges Dropped on Five Gitmo Detainees

The government is dropping the charges because the cases have been tainted by torture, and because the prosecution has deliberately withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense:

All five of the cases had been handled by a prosecutor who stepped down in September, saying there were systemic problems with the fairness of the military prosecutions there.

The dismissed charges included those against a detainee accused of plotting to detonate a radioactive “dirty bomb” inside the United States, accusations that drew international attention in 2002. The dismissal was a retreat by the government facing an aggressive defense in the case.


The chief military prosecutor, Col. Lawrence J. Morris, portrayed the dismissals as unexceptional. Colonel Morris said he had asked for the dismissals so the files of the former prosecutor, Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, could be reviewed.

“We have plenty of evidence to convict all of them,” Colonel Morris said, indicating that he would refile charges.

None of the detainees were to be released.
“They have been cornered into doing this to avoid admitting torture,” said Clare Algar, the executive director of Reprieve, a legal organization that represents Mr. Mohamed.

Oh, and remember the six Algerians living in Bosnia whom the C.I.A. locked up in Gitmo back in 2002 for allegedly plotting to blow up the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo, even though a Bosnian court had already released the men for lack of evidence? Well, they are about to get their day in federal court in response to the Supreme Court decision that Gitmo detainees have habeus corpus rights — and the Bush administration has informed the detainees’ legal team that they do not have evidence to present and, again, are dropping the charges.

In a cryptic filing made public on Tuesday, the Justice Department said that in a classified filing it had withdrawn “reliance on certain assertions.”

Robert C. Kirsch, a lawyer for the six men, said he could not discuss the classified filing. But he said that in an unclassified conversation, Justice Department lawyers had told him that after more than six years, the government did not plan to introduce any evidence about the embassy bomb plot.

“The government,” Mr. Kirsch said, “is finally being forced to look at whether it has or does not have evidence to justify holding these men.”

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