Defense Rests in Salim Hamdan Gitmo Trial

The defense has rested in the Guantanamo military commission trial of former driver Osama bin Laden driver Salim Hamdan.

The testimony for the defense portion of the case was closed to the public and journalists -- not because Hamdan or his lawyers wanted it closed but because the rules mandated it.


The classified testimony adds a new layer of controversy to a military justice system that critics contend is essentially rigged to secure convictions. Hamdan is the defendant in the first U.S. military commission since World War II, and virtually all of the trial had been open until now.

...."No court, civilian or military, has credibility when it listens to secret evidence in a closed courtroom," said Lou Fisher, author of a book about the 1942 military trial of eight accused Nazi saboteurs, six of whom were executed.

As to what we do know of the defense case:

The defense wrapped up its case with written evidence from accused September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and an alleged co-conspirator who were asked about Hamdan's role in the bin Laden organization.

The answers were not made public, but a defense lawyer described them as replying that Hamdan was fit to change tires and oil filters but not fit to plan or execute missions.

Whether he wins or loses, Hamdan likely isn't going anywhere:

Hamdan faces life in prison if convicted on charges of conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism. The Bush administration argues it can also hold him as an "enemy combatant," even if he is acquitted of the terrorism charges, until the "end of hostilities" in the war on terrorism.

< Obama Heckled at Speech in Florida | The VP Speech At The Dem Convention >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Um (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Steve M on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 03:24:29 PM EST
    What is the logic of closing the courtroom for the DEFENSE case?

    If there were super-secret intelligence information being disclosed in the course of the proceeding, you'd assume it wouldn't be the defense who would have it.  What's the official justification for this?

    Justification? (none / 0) (#3)
    by squeaky on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 04:44:24 PM EST
    Haven't you heard: 9/11

    "Hamdan... (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by desertswine on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 04:36:41 PM EST
    ...was fit to change tires and oil filters but not fit to plan or execute missions."

    Too bad they couldn't nab Osama's dentist or barber along with his chauffer.

    Was not Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's evidence obtained under torture?

    logic (1.00 / 0) (#4)
    by diogenes on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 10:19:39 PM EST
    There is no logic in allowing only the defense case to be public; it will be a one-sided case proving innocence, so if Hamdan were convicted then all of you folks would be enraged at how such an obviously "innocent" man could be railroaded.  Making prosecution sources open to the public exposes the sources and places sources of information at risk of retribution.  This may be necessary for US residents charged with committing a crime on US soil, but enemy combatants are in a different league.
    The unintended consequence here is that in the next war enemy combatants will either be held in an overseas prison or shot in the field to avoid all this bad publicity on the US government.

    Clever (5.00 / 0) (#5)
    by Steve M on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 10:55:11 PM EST
    Except everything else in the case was public, up until the testimony of these two defense witnesses, so the facts kind of rebut your argument.