U.S. Appeals court overturns Bin Laden driver’s conviction for war crime
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday overturned the conviction of Osama bin Laden’s former driver for war crimes.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the charge of material support for terrorism, for which Salim Hamdam was convicted by the U.S. military commission in 2008, was not yet a crime during the time he was driving for bin Laden from 1996 to 2001. The charge became a war crime only in 2006, when the Military Commission Act was passed into law.
The court said the law was not retroactive so “Hamdan’s conviction for material support for terrorism cannot stand.”
Although the ruling came when Hamdam is already free, it cleared his conviction and may clear the conviction of others like him as many other detainees at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay were charged with the same crime.
Hamdam was captured and detained in Afghanistan in November 2001. He was later transferred to Guantanamo Bay, where he was jailed until the military commission sentenced him to a 66-month jail term in August 2008.
aving already served time, he was deported to Yemen where he was detained until his release in 2009.
Hamdam then appealed his conviction to clear his name.
In his 2006 trial, Hamdam insisted he drove for bin Laden to earn wage and not to wage war on the U.S.