Supreme Court won't hear Guantanamo case


Published: Monday, October 1, 2007 at 2:02 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 1, 2007 at 2:02 p.m.

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear the case of a Guantanamo Bay detainee challenging the legality of the military commission system that plans to try him for war crimes.

Detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who once was the driver for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, is accused of conspiracy and supporting terrorism.

Hamdan had sought to combine his case with a separate challenge the Supreme Court is considering regarding Guantanamo Bay detainees. The justices will review the cases of detainees who do not face military commission trials and who are challenging their indefinite confinement. Many of the detainees have been held for over five years.

A year ago, Hamdan brought a successful challenge in the Supreme Court to the military commission system created by President Bush following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

In response, the White House persuaded the Republican-controlled Congress to pass a law approving the military commissions.

In asking the justices to take up Hamdan's case now, his lawyers say the newly enacted law violates his rights because it allows for only a narrow challenge if a defendant is found guilty.

There is no provision for review of a military commission's factual conclusions, lawyers for Hamdan argue. If convicted, Hamdan would face up to life in prison.

A federal judge ruled last December that Hamdan had no rights because he is an alien detained outside the sovereign territory of the United States.

Hamdan is a Yemeni national captured by Afghan forces in Afghanistan and turned over to the American military in November 2001.

The case is Hamdan v. Gates, 07-15.

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