Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who has admitted to being Osama bin Laden’s chauffeur in Afghanistan, went on trial at Guantánamo Bay July 21, in the first US war crimes trial since World War II. Hamdan pleaded not guilty to the charges before the military tribunal which could send him to life in prison. (Reuters, July 22) But in a surprise move, the presiding judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, excluded as inadmissible all statements obtained from Hamdan’s interrogations in Afghanistan, except his first videotaped battlefield interrogation—in which he disclosed no links to bin Laden. “The interests of justice are not served by admitting these statements because of the highly coercive environment and conditions under which they were made,” Allred wrote in a 16-page ruling. (McClatchy, July 22)
US District Judge James Robertson in Washington rejected a request from attorneys for Hamdan to stop his trial while he challenges the military tribunal system. There are currently about 265 detainees at Guantánamo. (Reuters, July 17)
See our last post on Gitmo and the torture/detainment scandal.