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DC Circuit to hear military commissions appeal

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit hears arguments Thursday on the legality of military commission trials of terror suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base [official website]. Last November, US District Judge James Robertson ordered military commissions to come to a halt [PDF text], saying their procedures were unlawful. The government counters that Judge Robertson's ruling intrudes upon the executive's power to defend the United States. The ruling was initially made after a legal challenge was brought by Salim Ahmed Hamdan, allegedly the personal driver of Osama bin Laden's [wikipedia profile]. As a terror suspect without POW status, the US has repeatedly refused to give Hamdan a court-martial in military court which allows the defendant to be present during the entire trial. Under the military commission rules [DOD informational website], Hamdan would be barred from the part of the trial while the government presents classified evidence against him. The case is Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 04-5393. AP has more.

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