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Hamdan appeal to be heard by full US military commissions review court

The US Court of Military Commission Review [official website] will hear en banc an appeal by former Osama Bin Laden [JURIST news archive] driver Salim Ahmed Hamdan [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] according to media reports. The decision was revealed late Friday in a one-page order [Miami Herald report] given to attorneys working on Hamdan's case. Hamdan was convicted [JURIST report] in August 2008 of providing material support for terrorism [charge sheet, PDF] and sentenced to 66 months of imprisonment, but given credit for 60 months he already spent in US custody. Hamdan's lawyers argue that at the time Hamdan was arrested in 2001, providing material support for terrorism was not a criminal act.

Hamdan was released [JURIST report] to his native country Yemen in November 2008 to serve the last month of his prison sentence and is now living freely there. His release alleviated concerns that arose when government lawyers said he could be held indefinitely [JURIST report]. In October 2008, a US military judge denied [ruling, PDF; JURIST report] a request [motion, PDF] by prosecutors that he reconsider a decision that reduced Hamdan's sentence [JURIST report] from five-and-a-half years to six months because of credit for time already served. Hamdan was initially taken into custody in 2001; 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.

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