US Justice Department to bring criminal charges against 'enemy combatant'
The move places the last remaining "enemy combatant" in the US before a civilian court instead of a military tribunal.
• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.Skip to next paragraph
Israeli general hints at another Gaza campaign
Unclaimed attack on Islamic school raises tension in Nigeria
See no evil? Activists doubt credibility of Arab League mission to Syria.
Arab League observers head to Syria's war-ravaged Homs
Christmas church bombings put global spotlight on 'Nigerian Taliban' (VIDEO)
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
The Justice Department is set to bring criminal charges in federal court against Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, the last remaining "enemy combatant" being held in the US, according to news reports. He is expected to be charged with providing material support to Al Qaeda.
The Washington Post reports that Mr. Marri has been held by the military since 2003 without being charged, and the US Supreme Court was to hear the challenge to his incarceration this year.
[Marri] spent 5 1/2 years in a military brig in South Carolina. Indicting him in a federal district court in central Illinois could avert a Supreme Court ruling that would tie the Obama administration's hands in dealing with future terrorism suspects.
Lawyers for Marri said yesterday that they will press ahead for a Supreme Court hearing in April, hoping to use his case as a vehicle to formally repudiate the Bush administration's position that enemy combatants can be held indefinitely by U.S. authorities.
Justice Department officials are expected to argue that their decision to seek an indictment of Marri renders the Supreme Court case moot and that it should be dismissed, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is at a delicate stage.
The Post writes that the Justice Department and the White House declined to comment on pending criminal charges against Marri.
The Associated Press reports that Marri was first arrested in 2001.
The government says al-Marri is an al-Qaida sleeper agent who has met Osama bin Laden and spent time at a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan.
A legal U.S. resident, al-Marri has been held in solitary confinement at the brig since 2003.
After he was arrested as a material witness in late 2001, authorities first charged him with credit card fraud. Later, officials said he had strong links to al-Qaida terrorists, so President Bush declared him an enemy combatant and transferred him to the military brig.