In 2000 the USS Cole was attacked by terrorist who blew a massive hole in the side of the US Naval ship killing 17 crew members and wounding dozens more. Suspected bombing master mind Abdal Rahim al-Nashiri is facing 17 counts of murder, charges of terrorism, and other crimes for his role in the bombing. His civilian attorney Richard Kammen is hoping to sway jurors away from an execution verdict based on recent execution mishaps.
Kammen argued during pretrial hearings that jurors needed to know the method of execution to be used. According to a report from the Military Times Kammen sought for the Secretary of Defense to turn over all execution protocol for the military. His argument was that this information would better allow defense attorneys to question potential jurors for the trial.
“Kammen said jurors might be less inclined to vote for execution if they knew the government planned to use the same lethal-injection protocol Arizona officials employed in the July execution of an inmate who took nearly two hours to die. Kammen also cited the January execution by lethal injection of Oklahoma inmate Michael Wilson, whose last words were, “I feel my whole body burning.”
However, the prosecution rebutted the defenses claims by suggesting that any method of execution suggested now could later change during the long appeals process. Prosecutors concluded such information was not necessary given the defendant was not yet facing an execution.
“Civilian prosecutor Justin Sher argued that the issue wasn’t ripe for a ruling, since any conviction or sentencing of al-Nashiri is speculative.”
Air Force Colonial Vance Spath is schedule to rule on the defense motions in the coming week. He will also rule on the defenses argument for a complete dismissal of all charges. Their arguments contend that the statute of limitations has expired on the charges and that al-Nashiri was unfairly prosecuted due to his being a Muslim. Their final request was for an MRI to detect possible brain damage from injuries sustained while in secret CIA prisons.