WASHINGTON – Military prosecutors re-filed terrorism and murder charges Wednesday against the suspected mastermind of the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, making it the first case to move forward since President Barack Obama ordered military trials to resume at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They also requested the death penalty in the case.
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was charged with the planning and preparation for the USS Cole attack that blew a hole in the warship, killing 17 sailors and wounding another 40.
The charges were referred to the Convening Authority for Military Commissions, which presides over the war crimes tribunals at the U.S. base in Cuba.
Al-Nashiri previously faced charges in the bombing, but the charges were dropped in 2009 as the administration revamped the military commission process.
Prosecutors also alleged that al-Nashiri was involved in the planning and preparation for an attack on the French civilian oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden on Oct. 6, 2002, that killed a crewmember and caused the release of approximately 90,000 barrels of oil.
Before being transferred to the prison at Guantanamo Bay in September 2006 for the second time, Al-Nashiri spent nearly four years inside the CIA's secret prison system, according to former CIA officials and publicly released documents.
Al-Nashiri was captured in Dubai in November 2002 and flown to a CIA prison in Afghanistan known as Salt Pit before being moved to another clandestine CIA facility in Thailand, where he was waterboarded twice, a technique meant to simulate drowning.
In December 2002, he was moved yet again to a CIA prison in Poland and subjected to a series of enhanced interrogation techniques including some not authorized by Justice Department guidelines.
While in Poland, a CIA officer cocked an unloaded handgun once or twice next to al-Nashiri's head. The same CIA officer also revved a bit-less power drill near the head of al-Nashiri, who had been left naked and hooded. Al-Nashiri also spent time in Morocco while under CIA control.