Friday, July 15, 2005
WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court put the Bush administration's military commissions for terrorist suspects back on track Friday, saying a detainee at the Guantanamo Bay prison who once was Osama bin-Laden's driver can stand trial.
A three-judge panel ruled 3-0 against Salim Ahmed Hamdan, whose case was halted by a federal judge on grounds that commission procedures were unlawful.
"Congress authorized the military commission that will try Hamdan," said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The protections of the 1949 Geneva Convention do not apply to al-Qaida and its members, so Hamdan does not have a right to enforce its provisions in court, the appeals judges said.
Army Gen. Bantz J. Craddock, left, commander of U.S. Southern Command, appears before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on possible abuse of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst.
U.S. District Judge James Robertson ruled last year that Hamdan could not be tried by a military commission until a competent tribunal determined that he was not a prisoner of war.
"We believe the military commission is such a tribunal," said the appeals court.
Full AP-Austin American Statesman story. D.H.: I find the ruling about the Geneva Convention disturbing.
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