Court Throws Out Conviction Of Bin Laden Driver

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 2 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?

  • Jean

    Ok I apologize for the rant in advance. The entire Gitmo/BTIF – Bagram Detention center issue drives me nuts:

    1) The silence from the lefties is deafening, it’s all they could talk about in the 2008 election. They compared Gitmo to the Hanoi Hilton, the current majority leader in the Senate referred to our servicemen as Nazi’.
    2) The recidivism rate from Gitmo is about 25%. No one is tracking the recidivism rate from the BTF. But it is very sobering to walk out of mountains after attending a shura in which one the members was just released from the BTF, good luck getting home!. There was a Gitmo honor grad who had also been a guest ours in Iraq. He was running around Western Afghanistan causing all kinds of trouble….who let that clown out.???Thanks to the MARSOF unit that helped him complete his religious journey.
    3) It is a documented and historical fact that trail that led to OBL , started as a result of information obtained from a detainee.
    4) BTW- these barbarians are not lawful combatants, therefore do not qualify for the protection under the Geneva Convention.
    5) If you Place under control (PUC) a bad guy, but fail to complete the proper paperwork, he goes free.
    “Vehicle Patel is ambushed in RC East, soldiers wounded or killed, an insurgent suspect is captured, IED trigger device in his pocket. If the proper paperwork is not submitted or the combat leader does not articulate the events properly. Some JAG lawyer will recommend release, and the next unit in your battle space has to fight the same guy all over again”…its insanity.

    6) In WWII, soldiers that did not wear uniforms or wore the uniforms of another country, were not covered under the Geneva Convention and not accorded the protection. We hanged some of Otto Skorzeny’s crew after the Battle of the Bulge. That’s a tip for our friends trying to deal with the current Green on Blue mess. Don’t bother trying to detain any of them.


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This article is filed under the category(s) Afghanistan and was published October 16th, 2012 by Herschel Smith.

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