US judge approves Obama's Gitmo cases order
U.S. President Barack Obama ordered military prosecutors in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunals to ask for a 120-day halt in all pending cases.
Hours after taking office, U.S. President Barack Obama ordered military prosecutors in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunals to ask for a 120-day halt in all pending cases and a judge granted the request on Wednesday in the case against a young Canadian.
When defense lawyers did not oppose the move, a judge froze the proceedings against Canadian Omar Khadr, who was captured at age 15 and is accused of allegedly murdering a U.S. soldier with a grenade during a firefight in Afghanistan.
Another judge was expected to rule as early as Wednesday in the death penalty case against five prisoners.
Obama's order to the prosecutors was issued several hours after his swearing-in on Tuesday and if all the continuances are granted it would halt proceedings against 21 prisoners.
Obama has pledged to shut down the Guantanamo prison camp that was widely seen as a stain on the United States' human rights record and a symbol of detainee abuse and illegally detention without charge under the administration of his predecessor, George W. Bush.
Human rights activists and military defense lawyers had urged him to halt the special tribunals that are formally known as military commissions and urged him to move the prosecutions into the regular U.S. courts for trial under long-established rules.
Reuters Last Mod: 21 Ocak 2009, 17:32