October 17, 2012
OSAMA BIN LADEN’S DRIVER’S CONVICTION TOSSED OUT: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has overturned Salim Hamdan’s conviction (by a military commission) for providing “material support” to terrorists, including his boss, Osama bin Laden, for whom Hamdan served as a driver. The court reasoned that during Hamdan’s tenure as OBL’s driver (1995-2001), providing “material support” to terrorists was not a recognized crime under the Law of War. While Congress passed a statute in 2006 (the Military Commissions Act) that made material support to terrorism a war crime, it could not have retroactive application.
The court made it clear, however, that under existing Supreme Court precedent, Mr. Hamdan and other enemy combatants can be detained indefinitely, until such time as US hostilities with al Qaeda have ended.