Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Interrogation evidence ruling in Hamdan

The judge in the Hamdan case, which opened Monday at Guantanamo Bay, has ruled that the prosecution cannot use certain statements taken from accused Osama bin Laden aide Salim Hamdan while he was held at Panshir and Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.

The judge, Navy Captain Keith Allred, found that the statements were provided while Hamdan was subjected to "highly coercive" conditions. He left open the possibility that the prosecution could use statements by Hamdan during detention at Gitmo. Prosecutors expressed confidence that the ruling would not impair their ability to try the case. Nonetheless, chief prosecutor Army Colonel Lawrence Morris said the government might appeal the ruling, citing the possibility that the ruling would influence the prosecution of future cases.

Judge Allred previously issued a ruling (reported in CAAFlog here) disqualifying the convening authority's legal adviser, Air Force Brigadier General Thomas Hartmann, from participating in the Hamdan case based on allegations that General Hartmann improperly attempted to influence the proceedings. The Hamdan case was cleared to go forward following a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia released on Friday.


Phil Cave said...

Did Congress discuss this specific issue during any hearings on the DoD recommendations and the proposal for changes to Article 120 (or any part of the proposed changes)? Or did they just vote on it?

Anonymous said...

I would love to see a ruling that Hamdan doesn't get legal counsel at taxpayer expense, but will be issued a firing squad.

Anonymous said...

There is an interesting statement from the hamdan Evidence ruling. It states the prosecutors are confident that it won't affect their case against Hamdan, but Col Morris states he may appeal it anyway because it could affect other cases.

Now, I HAVE NOT READ THE APPEAL STATUTE, but I assume (bad word) it is similar to the Art 62 and the federal statute. If so, it states that on an interlocutory order exlcuding evidence, the government can appeal only if the prosecutor certifies that the excluded evidence materailly affects the case, or words to that effect. The prosecutors have said it does not, and the statute does not allow for an interlocutory appeal because the evidence ruling could affect other cases, that may not even be before the same judge.

Interesting if the government does in fact appeal.