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Pentagon to appeal Guantanamo ruling

The Pentagon has decided to ask U.S. military judges to reconsider their decision to dismiss charges against two terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, a spokesman said on Friday.
/ Source: Reuters

The Pentagon has decided to ask U.S. military judges to reconsider their decision to dismiss charges against two terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, a spokesman said on Friday.

On Monday, the judges said they lacked jurisdiction to try the suspects, in the latest blow to the Bush administration's plans to prosecute inmates at the U.S. prison camp in Cuba.

"The Department has made a decision to file a motion for reconsideration to the the military commission," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

The suspects in the two cases are Omar Khadr, a Canadian captured in a firefight in Afghanistan at age 15, and Yemeni national Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who is accused of driving and guarding Osama bin Laden.

The judges ruled they could not try the pair because they had been designated only as "enemy combatants" while the 2006 Military Commissions Act passed by the U.S. Congress said suspects had to be "unlawful enemy combatants" to face trial.

One of the judges, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, said that the Pentagon's definition of an enemy combatant was broad enough to include captives who supported the Taliban or al-Qaida without actually engaging in combat.

But the Pentagon insists there is no material difference between the two terms.