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Guantanamo Judge Refuses Obama's Request For Delay

MIAMI (Reuters) -- The chief judge for the Guantanamo war crimes court has refused U.S. President Barack Obama's request to delay court proceedings against a prisoner charged with plotting an attack that killed 17 U.S. sailors.

Hours after taking office last week, Obama ordered Guantanamo prosecutors to seek 120-day delays in all pending cases in order to give his new administration time to decide whether to scrap the trials.

But the judge, Army Colonel James Pohl, said tribunal rules give the judges sole authority to delay cases and that postponing proceedings against Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri was not reasonable and "does not serve the interest of justice."

Nashiri is charged with conspiring with Al-Qaeda to send an explosives-laden boat into the side of the "USS Cole" in the Yemeni port of Aden in 2000. The attack killed 17 U.S. sailors and al-Nashiri would face execution if convicted.

His arraignment was set for early February.