Osama bin Laden’s driver’s Gitmo conviction overturned by DC court

Oct 16, 2012

Reporting from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba–Osama bin Laden’s driver, Salim Hamdan, who was the first terror suspect to be tried at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba before a military commission, had his conviction overturned today by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mr. Hamdan’s material support for terrorism case, which took 42 days to hear, was overturned by the Supreme Court and resulted in Congress rewriting the Military Commissions Act of 2006. A second trial found Mr. Hamdan guilty and he was sentenced to 66 months in prison, but he was released to Yemen for timed already served.

The District Court of Appeals ruled that the charge of “material support” could not be confirmed under the international war crime since no such offense existed at the time, and therefore Mr. Hamdan’s conviction was overturned.

Officials say it is unlikely to have any impact on the current trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin Attash, Ramzi Binal Shibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi since they are charged with crimes of mass murder, which are included in international conventions.

An opinion written by Judge Brett Kavanaugh concluded that Hamdan’s trial and subsequent appeal by the military commission in Gitmo improperly used the military tribunal system under the Military Commission Act to retroactively punish Hamden for new war crimes.

“Because we read the Military Commissions Act not to retroactively punish new crimes, and because material support for terrorism was not a pre-existing war crime under 10 U.S.C. § 821, Hamdan’s conviction for material support for terrorism cannot stand. We reverse the judgment of the Court of Military Commission Review and direct that Hamdan’s conviction for material support for terrorism be vacated.”

Previous KSM stories: http://www.examiner.com/article/ksm-asks-judge-to-wear-military-uniform-to-9-11-trial-1

http://www.examiner.com/article/ksm-can-skip-hearings-judge-issues-defendants-attendance-waivers-1

http://www.examiner.com/article/ksm-speaks-at-gitmo-trial-1

http://www.examiner.com/article/ksm-9-11-terror-mastermind-trial-set-to-resume-this-week-1

For more stories: http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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