Prez Orders Halt to Gitmo Trials

Prosecutors seeking 120-day delay while Obama sorts things out
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2009 2:40 AM CST
An official picture of George Bush is replaced with one of Barack Obama in the lobby of the headquarters of the US Naval Station, in Guantanamo Bay.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, Pool)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama ordered military prosecutors to seek a 120-day halt to legal proceedings at Guantanamo Bay—due to resume today—against five accused 9/11 conspirators, and another case against a Canadian defendant. Documents already filed said the request is made "in the interest of justice and at the direction of the president." Military judges will decide today whether to grant the request, reports the Washington Post.

A suspension of trials would give the new administration time to decide what to do about the controversial military tribunals. The government could decide to treat detainees as criminal defendants in federal court or try them for war crimes in a military court. An executive order from Obama setting out his plan to close the Guantanamo detention facility is expected soon.