US President Barack Obama's administration was expected to gear up in the coming weeks for more military commission trials of Guantanamo detainees, The New York Times reported Thursday.
Defence Secretary Robert Gates was expected to lift an order that blocked new cases against detainees at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay on Cuba, according to unnamed administration officials who talked to the Times, DPA reported.
Obama entered office in 2009 vowing to shut down the prison and move trials to civilian courts in the United States, but Congress has impeded the civilian court alternative by blocking military funds to transport the inmates.
In addition, the November verdict in the first trial in a civilian court of a Guantanamo Bay detainee, Ahmed Ghailani, posed a quandary for Obama after he was acquitted on 284 counts related to terrorism and found guilty of one conspiracy count.
Fewer than 200 suspects in the war on terrorism remain at Guantanamo, including five suspects in the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Many detainees could be released pending acceptance by home or other countries.
If Gates lifts the block on trials, charges would likely come against several detainees already designated by the Justice Department for prosecution before a military commission, the Times said. They could include Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi accused of planning the 2000 bombing of the US destroyer Cole in Yemen.
In December, the Obama administration was reportedly preparing a document outlining the details of how detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison could be held indefinitely without trial.