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Recap: DC Circuit Hears Hamdan v. U.S. Oral Arguments

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on May 04, 2012 10:08 AM

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments Thursday in the Hamdan v. U.S. appeal.

Hamdan is one of the big players as far as Guantuanamo Bay cases go.

Salim Hamdan, Osama Bin Laden's former driver, was tried before a military commission in 2006. He was convicted on five counts of material support, and was acquitted on three counts of material support.

He was sentenced by the military commission to 66 months of confinement.

As Bin Laden's driver, his convictions were based on the fact that he provided support by driving Bin Laden to and from venues where he propagated and promoted message of terror.

One major question in the Hamdan case was whether the material support charges were sufficient violations of the law of war to subject him to trial and punishment by military commission.

Another issue revisited this week during oral arguments was whether the law dictating trial by the military tribunal was enacted after the fact.

In their brief, the Government reiterated three main questions to be decided by the court:

  1. Whether material support for terrorism constitutes an offense triable by military commission;
  2. Whether the application of that offense to petitioner violates the Ex Post Facto Clause; and
  3. Whether confining the jurisdiction of military commissions to alien unlawful enemy combatants violates the Equal Protection component of the Due Process Clause.

Each side was given 20 minutes to present their arguments before the judges. We'll have more for you as details and transcripts of the oral arguments become available.

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