Pentagon appeals Gitmo detainee’s case

The Pentagon said July 6 it has appealed a decision by a military judge to dismiss the case of a Guantanamo Bay detainee accused of killing a US soldier in Afghanistan. It is the first use of the appeals process since it was created by Congress last year to handle cases involving Guantanamo detainees. Omar Ahmed Khadr, a Canadian citizen, is one of two detainees whose military trials were dismissed because they were not identified as “unlawful” enemy combatants. The other is Yemeni detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan, allegedly Osama bin Laden’s former driver. Prosecutors filed an appeal in Khadr’s case with the Court of Military Commission Review on July 4, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Khadr and Hamdan are the only ones among Guantanamo’s 375-prisoner population who have been charged with crimes under the reconstituted military trial system. The judge who threw out the charges against Hamdan has not yet ruled on prosecutors’ motion to reconsider. Hamdan is accused of conspiracy and providing support for terrorism. One other detainee charged under the new system, Australian David Hicks, pleaded guilty in March to providing material support to al-Qaeda and is serving a nine-month sentence in Australia.

Khadr has been in custody since he was 15. He is charged with tossing a grenade that killed one US soldier and injured another in Afghanistan in 2002. He is the son of an alleged al-Qaeda financier, and his family has received little sympathy in Canada, where they’ve been called the “First Family of Terrorism.” Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay has said the government will wait until the appeals process has been exhausted before asking US authorities to release Khadr to Canada. (AP via TruthOut, July 6)

See our last post on Gitmo and the detainment controversy.