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Gito Murder Charges Dropped Over Word

From those lovers of justice at Al Jazeera:

Judges throw out Guantanamo cases

US military judges have thrown out cases against two Guantanamo inmates, casting doubt on future tribunals for the 380 detainees at the prison.

Monday’s decisions to dismiss the cases against Omar Khadr, a Canadian, and Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni, were a blow to the Bush administration’s attempt to try Guantanamo detainees in military court.

Prosecutors allege that Khadr – then 15 – used a hand grenade to kill a US army sergeant during a raid on an al-Qaeda hideout in Afghanistan five years ago and that Hamdan was Osama bin Laden’s driver.

But the judges said that although Khadr and Hamdan had been classified “enemy combatants”, they had not been tagged as “unlawful enemy combatants” as required by new rules drawn up by the US congress.

The Military Commissions Act that George Bush, the US president, signed last year, says specifically that only those classified as “unlawful” enemy combatants can face war trials, the judge in Khadr’s case, Colonel Peter Brownback, noted during his arraignment.

The chief of military defence lawyers at Guantanamo Bay, Colonel Dwight Sullivan, said the decisions could spell the end of the war-crimes trial system.

Sullivan said the dismissals have “huge” impact because none of the detainees held at the isolated military base in southeast Cuba had been found to be “unlawful” enemy combatants.

“It is not just a technicality: it’s the latest demonstration that this newest system just does not work,” he told journalists. “It is a system of justice that does not comport with American values.”

Sullivan said that to reclassify them as “unlawful”, the whole review system would need a time-consuming overhaul.

But the Pentagon dismissed it as a technicality.

Navy Commander Jeffrey Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman, said: “It is our belief that the concept was implicit that all the Guantanamo detainees who were designated as “enemy combatants” … were in fact unlawful.”

A prosecutor said he would appeal the dismissals, but the court designated to hear the appeal – known as the court of military commissions review – does not even exist yet, Sullivan noted..

As Mr. Sullivan noted and as this report from Reuters details, the court to which it is supposed to appeal doesn’t even exist yet:

On Monday, the military judges at Guantanamo gave the government 72 hours to decide whether to appeal. However the court authorized to hear appeals under last year’s Military Commissions Act has not yet been created, said the chief defense counsel for the tribunals, Marine Col. Dwight Sullivan.

The government may appeal but would have to assemble an appeals court quickly.

So these two terrorists– and probably the other 380 terrrorists who have been charged with the most heinous crimes, including many murders — will walk.

And all because of them being listed as “enemy combattants,” rather than “unlawful enemy combattants” as required by a recently written law.

While our best and brightest are dying in thousands of miles away from home, we give the enemies of our country (including the Communist lawyers defending these terrorists) easy victories at every turn.

Are we fighting a war or not?

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, June 5th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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