Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hamdan Convicted; Will Never See The Free Light Of Day Again

The much-touted first tribunal for detainees is finished and Salim Hamdan has been convicted of providing material support for terrorism:

A U.S. military jury Wednesday convicted Osama bin Laden's driver of war crimes -- making him the first war-on-terror captive convicted by contested tribunal at the U.S. Navy base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The jury announced the verdict against Salim Hamdan at 10:16 a.m.

It cleared him of the more serious crime of conspiracy but convicted him of multiple counts of providing material support for terror.

Conviction can carry a maximum life imprisonment.

The six U.S. officers who convicted him next will deliberate on his sentence.

The jury got the case Monday after extensive closing arguments. It deliberated a total of 6½ hours Monday and Tuesday at this U.S. Navy base in Cuba.

Hamdan, 37, was captured in November 2001 in Afghanistan by allied U.S. troops. He had two surface-to-air missiles in his car when captured and has been held at Guantánamo since May 2002.

Attorneys presented the war crimes case and Hamdan's defense over the past two weeks. Conviction could carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The president of the jury, a Navy captain, led the panel back into the deliberation room at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday behind a courtroom carved out of an abandoned air terminal. Besides the Navy captain, the panel comprises two colonels and three lieutenant colonels from the Army, Air Force and Marines.

In his closing, case prosecutor John Murphy cast Hamdan as an al Qaeda co-conspirator, saying he'd served as bin Laden's driver in Afghanistan from 1996 until his capture. He accused the Yemeni of rising through the ranks to become a trusted bodyguard and key cog in the infrastructure of the international terror group.

This case was a test for us. Salim Hamdan challenged his detention to the Supreme Court, forced the president and Congress to address the tribunals, and eventually got his day in the military court. Despite the defense's best efforts, he was still convicted. It should be noted that the defense team did a good job of getting the conspiracy charges beaten, but they could not show that he was not an integral, albeit small, part of al-Qaeda operations.

Salim Hamdan might have been a small cog in the overall machine, but his journey through the al-Qaeda ranks earned him the trusted position of not only Osama bin Laden's driver, but also his primary bodyguard. That says a great deal about the man's connections to the organization, and his ties to the uppermost areas of the al-Qaeda hierarchy.

We congratulate the tribunal for coming to this conclusion, and we welcome their sentence, which will come down very soon. He will likely spend the rest of his days in prison, and will never walk free again. I initially picked this up from Captain Ed Morrissey @ Hot Air and he also has the following statement from Senator John McCain:

I welcome today’s guilty verdict in the first trial held under the Military Commissions Act (MCA). This process of bringing terrorists to justice has been too long delayed, but I’m encouraged that it is finally moving forward. I supported that legislation, which was a good-faith effort by Congress to meet the Supreme Court’s direction to establish a process to bring terrorist detainees to trial. Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a trusted confidante of Osama Bin Laden, was provided a full hearing of the charges against him and was represented by counsel who vigorously defended him. The jury found that the prosecution lawyers had proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Hamdan had aided terrorists by supplying weapons to Al Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan. This process demonstrated that military commissions can effectively bring very dangerous terrorists to justice. The fact that the jury did not find Hamdan guilty of all of the charges brought against him demonstrates that the jury weighed the evidence carefully. Unlike Senator Obama who voted against the MCA and favors giving Al Qaeda terrorists direct access to U.S. civilian courts to contest their detention, I recognize that we cannot treat dangerous terrorists captured on the battlefield as we would common criminals.

This trial, his fair representation, and his conviction shows that this is hardly the kangaroo court that many claimed it would be. We honestly believe the kangaroo antics came from the US Supreme Court in the Boumediene decision granting habeas corpus rights to the detainees at Gitmo.



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