US military prosecutors are demanding the death penalty for a man believed to be a senior al- Qaeda leader behind the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. Seventeen American sailors died, and 47 were wounded, when a speedboat packed with explosives rammed the warship eight years ago.
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri has been held in Guantamamo Bay, charged with murder and terrorism.
“He is also charged with actions related to an earlier unsuccessful attack on the USS The Sullivans on January 3, 2000, and the bombing of the French supertanker the SS Limburg in the Gulf of Aden in October of 2002. Five of the eight charges carry the maximum penalty of death,” said Airforce Brigadier General, Thomas Hartmann.
Al-Nashiri’s hearing, if given the go ahead by a military commission, would also put the practice of waterboarding on trial.
The defendant claims it was used on him. The CIA has admitted using it, but the Bush administration denies waterboarding amounts to torture.