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 urge for the trials of the detainees held at Guantánamo Bay to take place in US civilian courts, without the use of the death penalty as a sentence, and for the Guantánamo Bay detention facility to be shut down.

Amnesty International's USA researcher Rob Freer said:

"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."

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’ charges. Yesterday the Pentagon confirmed that Hamdan would remain in indefinite detention as an ‘enemy combatant’ regardless of the verdict.

The sentencing hearing is due to begin on Wednesday 6 August 2008. Mr Hamdan faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

For further information, see: USA: Trial and error - a reflection on the first week of the first military commission trial at Guantánamo, 30 July 2008: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/084/2008/en .

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