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Accused USS Cole bomber boycotts pretrial hearing

Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] detainee Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri [NYT profile; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday boycotted his pretrial hearing at the facility. Al-Nashiri is accused of bombing the USS Cole [US Navy backgrounder] while it was in port in Yemen in October 2000. Al-Nashiri objected to the use of belly chains while he was brought from his cell to the courtroom for the proceedings. Navy officials have stated [AP report] that while belly chains are used when moving certain detainees within the facility, they would not have been used on al-Nashiri before Tuesday's hearing. The hearing was to determine if Yemen was at war with the US at the time of the bombing, a decision that will be used to determine al-Nashiri's status as an enemy combatant.

Conducting trials at Guantanamo Bay has stirred controversy recently, as alleged conspirators of both the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the USS Cole bombing are being tried. In September Military Judge James Pohl ruled [JURIST report] that he did not have the authority to allow media to broadcast al-Nashiri's trial. In February Pohl ruled [JURIST report] in al-Nashiri's case that attorney-client mail that was inspected at Guantanamo Bay can not be released by the Pentagon [official website]. Days before that ruling defense lawyers in the case of another Guantanamo detainee filed a suit [JURIST report] challenging the order for officials to read all legal correspondence for suspected 9/11 conspirators.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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