[JURIST] Charges [PDF charge sheet] against Yemeni Guantanamo Bay detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive] have been formally referred to a military commission [JURIST news archive], according to a statement from the US Department of Defense Thursday. Hamdan is charged with conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism, and will be arraigned within 30 days.
Hamdan was a driver for Osama bin Laden before his capture and incarceration at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. In August 2005, he challenged [JURIST report] the legality of his pending trial before a military commission rather than in front of an ordinary US military court. In a case that went all the way up the US Supreme Court, Hamdan's lawyers argued [JURIST report] that the then-existing commission system set up by presidential order was unfair because it allowed President Bush's military subordinates to determine who will act as judge and jury and also decide which crimes would be prosecuted. The Bush administration argued that Hamdan was not entitled to Geneva Convention protections because he was not part of a uniformed enemy. The court ruled [JURIST report] in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [PDF text] that the military commissions as then constituted were illegal under military law and the Geneva Conventions. After Congressional passage of the Military Commissions Act [JURIST news archive], Hamdan was recharged [JURIST report; charge sheet, PDF] in February. DOD has more.