4 years, 5 months ago
From The Seattle Times:
A federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out the conviction of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a former driver for Osama bin Laden who served a prison term for material support for terrorism.
In a 3-0 ruling, the appeals court said that material support for terrorism was not an international-law war crime at the time Hamdan engaged in the activity for which he was convicted.
Hamdan was sentenced to 5 1/2 years, given credit for time served and is back home in Yemen, reportedly working as a taxi driver.
“If the government wanted to charge Hamdan with aiding and abetting terrorism or some other war crime that was sufficiently rooted in the international law of war at the time of Hamdan’s conduct, it should have done so,” wrote Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. All three judges on the case were appointed by Republican presidents.
The war crime for which Hamdan was convicted was contained in the Military Commissions Act of 2006.
“The government suggests that at the time of Hamdan’s conduct from 1996 to 2001, material support for terrorism violated the law of war referenced” in U.S. law, said Kavanaugh, but “we conclude otherwise.”
Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said the department is reviewing the ruling.
Hamdan met bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1996 and began working on his farm before winning a promotion as his driver.
Defense lawyers say he only kept the job for the $200-a-month salary. But prosecutors alleged he was a personal driver and bodyguard of the al-Qaida leader. They say he transported weapons for the Taliban and helped bin Laden escape U.S. retribution following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Not much more needs to be said about this. Pause and consider: ” … and is back home in Yemen, reportedly working as a taxi driver.” Really, is it any wonder that our boys currently in Afghanistan don’t know why they’re in theater, and consider it a successful deployment when they don’t even fire a weapon at the enemy? If everyone has lost the will to defend the homeland, why would we expect any different from our warriors?