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US military judge denies prosecution resentencing request in Hamdan trial

[JURIST] A US military judge denied [ruling, PDF] a request [motion, PDF] by prosecutors Thursday to reconsider the prison term for Salim Ahmed Hamdan [DOD materials; JURIST news archive], the former driver for Osama Bin Laden [JURIST news archive]. US military and civilian prosecutors filed the motion in September, arguing [JURIST report] that the Guantanamo military commission which heard his case improperly gave him credit for time spent in custody. Hamdan was sentenced to five and a half years in prison in August, following his conviction [JURIST reports] on providing material support for terrorism [charge sheet, PDF]. The trial judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, gave Hamdan credit for 61 months served, which he calculated at a different standard than that of a ordinary enemy combatant. While Hamden will be eligible for release in January, the US government has said that once his sentence is up, it can detain him indefinitely as an enemy combatant. AP has more. The Miami Herald has additional coverage.

Hamdan was initially taken into custody in 2001, and in 2006 he successfully challenged President George W. Bush's military commission system when the Supreme Court ruled [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that the commission system as initially construed violated US and international law. Congress subsequently passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [DOD materials], which established the current military commissions system. In April of this year, Hamdan announced that he planned to boycott his military commission trial. In July, a military judge denied [JURIST report] Hamdan's motion to dismiss his charges, holding that the military commission assigned had jurisdiction to hear the case against him.

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