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GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA - The alleged mastermind of the bombing of the Norfolk-based USS Cole was a no-show before a U.S. military commission in Cuba on Tuesday.

Alleged al-Qaida member and Saudi-born Abd al Rahim Hussayn Muhammad al-Nashiri is accused in the October 2000 attack on USS Cole while she was docked in Yemen,an attempted attack on the USS The Sullivans in January 2000 and an attack on the French-flagged oil tanker Limburg in October 2002.

17 Cole sailors were killed and 40 were wounded in the blast.

U.S. officials allege Nashiri was under the supervision of Osama bin Laden and that bin Laden personally approved the attacks.

al-Nashiri told legal officials his absence was in protest of belly chains used to escort him to the courtroom.

The judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, ordered al-Nashiri to appear on Wednesday for motions in the case. He's expected to hear up to 18 motions from the defense and three from the prosecution over the next three days. Most from the defense involve disclosure from prosecutors, appearances by expert witnesses and dismissal of the trial, officials said.

al-Nashiri is charged with perfidy, or treachery; murder in violation of the law of war; attempted murder in violation of the law of war; terrorism; conspiracy; intentionally causing serious bodily injury; attacking civilian objects and hazarding a vessel.se, and disclosure of the defendant's mental health records.

If convicted, he could receive the death penalty.

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