US Ends Trials of 5 Gitmo Prisoners

Though charges are dropped, men are still held, may be retried
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2008 10:24 AM CDT
Guantanamo detainee and terror suspect Binyam Mohamed in the US military courtroom in Guantanamo Bay. The Pentagon has dropped war-crimes charges against him and four other detainees.   (AP Photo/Janet Hamlin, File)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The war crimes tribunal at Guantanamo Bay has dropped charges against five suspects that the Pentagon has called al-Qaeda operatives, reports the Los Angeles Times. All of the men were fingered by Abu Zubaydah, a Saudi-born militant whom the Bush administration concedes was waterboarded. The charges were dismissed after one of the case's prosecutors stepped down, citing political intrusion and ethical shortcomings at the court.

Although the five men are now accused of no crime, they remain imprisoned at Guantanamo under the class of "enemy combatants." Defense lawyers said prosecutors maintained that they simply needed more time to prepare after the resignation. Both Barack Obama and John McCain have said they want to shut down both the prison and the war crimes court. "My hope would be that this doesn't survive the election," said one defense counselor.