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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Hamdan lawyers urge judge to drop military commission charges
Mike Rosen-Molina at 5:39 PM ET

[JURIST] Lawyers for Yemeni Guantanamo Bay detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan [Trial Watch profile; DOD materials] argued at a preliminary hearing Thursday that the charges [PDF text] against Hamdan should be dropped because his alleged crimes were not considered violations of the rules of war at the time they were committed and that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [PDF text; JURIST news archive] was not intended to create new offenses. In a motion filed before the hearing, lawyers also asked that Hamdan's military commission be delayed until Hamdan can be moved to better quarters, saying that he has begun to mentally deteriorate under the stress of solitary confinement and cannot aid in his own defense. Military Commission Judge Keith J. Allred appeared skeptical of the argument that the Military Commissions Act could not designate new offenses, but postponed arguments on Hamdan's mental state to a later date. AP has more.

In October, the US Supreme Court denied certiorari in Hamdan's appeal [JURIST report] challenging the constitutionality of the military commission system. Hamdan was allegedly a driver for Osama bin Laden before his capture and incarceration at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] and in 2006 successfully challenged US President George W. Bush's military commission system when the Supreme Court ruled [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that the commission system as initially constituted violated US and international law. Congress subsequently passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, but Hamdan argued that the current law still violates his rights. He had hoped the Supreme Court would consider his case along with those of other detainees challenging their detention at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST report].






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