Hamdan, you may recall, was Osama Bin Laden’s driver and cook, and as such was believed to have lots of insider information regarding the terror chief’s plans. He was convicted of Material Support to Terrorists, which was not a crime under US law at the time he engaged in the acts for which he was convicted.
In a unanimous opinion:
“Because we read the Military Commissions Act not to sanction retroactive punishment for new crimes, and because material support for terrorism was not a pre-existing war crime under 10 U.S.C. § 821, Hamdan’s conviction for material support for terrorism cannot stand. We reverse the decision of the Court of Military Commission Review and direct that Hamdan’s conviction for material support for terrorism be vacated.”
Hamdan had already served the vast majority of the 66 months to which he was originally sentenced. He was deported to Yemen, from where he continued his legal fight that culminated in today’s decision.
I have no information as to whether or not the Government will seek certoriari at the US Supreme Court. This particular ruling has been described as “a lightning bolt at the heart of the military commissions system” by a military defense attorney of my acquaintance.
In other Military Commissions news, the tribunal resumed hearings on Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four charged co-conspirators.