Hamdan: Unfair trial compounds injustice of unlawful detention

“The conviction of Salim Hamdan under procedures that do not meet international fair trial standards compounds the injustice of his more than five years’ unlawful detention in Guantánamo,” said Amnesty International today.

Amnesty International believes that the entire military commission system is fundamentally flawed and that the tribunals should be abandoned in all cases. The organisation continues to campaign for trials of Guantánamo detainees to be held in ordinary civilian courts in the USA, without resort to the death penalty, and for the Guantánamo detention facility to be shut down.

“We have consistently called for justice and security to be pursued within a framework of strict adherence to international law; however the US government has systematically failed in this regard,” said Rob Freer, Amnesty International’s researcher on the USA.

Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni national, was convicted by a panel of six US military officers of “providing material support for terrorism” and acquitted of “conspiracy”. The Pentagon had confirmed yesterday that he would remain in indefinite detention as an “enemy combatant” regardless of the verdict.

The sentencing hearing is due to begin today. He faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

For further information, click here to see: USA: Trial and error – a reflection on the first week of the first military commission trial at Guantánamo, 30 July 2008.