[JURIST] US military and civilian prosecutors have petitioned [motion, PDF] to have the prison term for Salim Ahmed Hamdan [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] reconsidered, arguing that the Guantanamo military commission which heard his case improperly gave him credit for time spent in custody, according to documents released [WSJ report] to the Wall Street Journal last week. Hamdan was sentenced to five and a half years in prison in August, following his conviction [JURIST reports] of providing material support for terrorism [charge sheet, PDF], but was credited for the five years he has been detained since charges were first brought against him. In the filing, prosecutors argued that Hamdan's detention in Guantanamo Bay was as an enemy combatant, and therefore was unconnected to the charges for which he was convicted. Hamdan's defense has argued [filing, PDF] in opposition that the commission had appropriately exercised its discretion by granting the credit, and that the government's motion violated procedural rules of the commission. The government has now filed a reply [PDF text] to the defense's filing. SCOTUSblog has more.
Hamdan has been in US custody since 2001, when he was captured in Afghanistan and accused of working as Osama Bin Laden's driver. In 2006 he successfully challenged US President George W. Bush's military commission system when the Supreme Court ruled [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that the commission system as initially constituted violated US and international law. Congress subsequently passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [DOD materials], which established the current military commissions system. In April, Hamdan announced that he planned to boycott his military commission trial, and in May a military judge delayed the trial [JURIST reports] until July. A judge in the US District Court for the District of Columbia later rejected [JURIST report] a bid by Hamdan's lawyers to stay his trial, ruling that a civilian court should refrain from reviewing the case until the military commission issues a final judgment. In July, the military court denied [JURIST report] Hamdan's motion to dismiss the charges against him, holding that the military commission assigned to his trial had jurisdiction to hear the case.