D.C. Circuit’s Decision in Hamdan Reaffirms TCP Position on Fair Trials and Use of Federal Courts

By throwing out the conviction of Salim Hamdan, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck a blow to the legitimacy of military commissions and reaffirmed TCP’s longstanding position that terrorism suspects should be afforded fair trials, whenever possible in our civilian justice system. Hamdan – who had been Osama Bin Laden’s driver – was found guilty of material support for terrorism by a military commission, but a three-judge panel of the D.C Circuit Court overturned the conviction because it found that material support wasn’t a war crime at the time of Hamdan’s actions.  Hamdan has served his sentence, and has since been released in Yemen.  TCP’s Liberty and Security Committee outlined the advantages of the federal court system for trying terrorism cases in its 2008 report, A Critique of National Security Courts and TCP President Virginia Sloan released a statement on the recent decision.

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