Military Judges Dismiss Charges Against 2 Gitmo "Enemy Combatants"

Two Military Judges dismissed charges against two Gitmo detainees yesterday. Charges were dismissed against Canadian Omar Khadr and later dismissed against Yemeni detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan.

The reason for the dismissals ?

The issue in both cases was the status of the detainees as determined by their Combatant Status Review Tribunals. Both detainees were classified as "enemy combatants," one of only two designations offered by the administrative hearings, but the Military Commissions Act of 2006 requires that a detainee be classified as an "unlawful enemy combatant" to be tried by military commission.

In announcing his decision, Allred said that the CSRT determination, in 2004, was made to determine the proper detention of detainees, not their qualification for military commissions. Also, the CSRT finding used a much less stringent definition for "enemy combatant" than the Military Commissions Act uses for "unlawful enemy combatant," he said.

Allred also noted that the CSRT was conducted two years before the Military Commissions Act was signed into law, and Hamdan may well have acted differently if he knew the hearing would determine whether he would be tried by military commission.

Hamdan was charged with conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism. The specific allegations included that he was a bodyguard and personal driver for Osama bin Laden and transported weapons, ammunition and supplies for al Qaeda.

Joseph McMillan, one of Hamdan's civilian attorneys, argued that U.S. law establishes that jurisdiction of military courts is very limited and must be specifically defined. The charge sheet against Hamdan fails to state the facts on which jurisdiction depends, and instead is very vague, McMillan said.
He urged Allred not to ignore the word "unlawful," as it was inserted into the law purposefully to ensure lawful enemy combatants are not subject to the law of war.

(Huh? What is the definition of a "lawful enemy combatant" ? The very term suggests that the enemy combatant's actions are "Unlawful" Talk about political correctness and splitting hairs, WOW.)

Allred allowed that the prosecution may have evidence that proves Hamdan is an unlawful enemy combatant, but making that determination will require either reopening the 2004 CSRT or establishing a new one. The prosecution asked for 72 hours to consider appealing Allred's decision, and their request was granted.

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Talk Show America 6/5/2007

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