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Letting Go of Hamdan

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August 13, 2008

Today’s L.A. Times opines that Salim Hamdan should be released from Guantánamo after he serves his five-month sentence. We — and the jury who decided Hamdan’s sentence — believe that the Bush administration cannot detain him indefinitely. The government continues to stubbornly maintain that Hamdan ought to remain behind bars long after his sentence is completed. The L.A. Times writes:

Simple justice is a sufficient reason for releasing Hamdan, but doing so would have the additional advantage of preventing further erosion of the image of the United States abroad.

…Continuing to detain Hamdan despite the results of his trial also would make it harder for the United States to trumpet future convictions under the military commission system…

The New York Times called the Hamdan conviction and sentence a “hollow victory in the war on terror,” and that President Bush is “trashing the Constitution” with the military commission system. We couldn’t agree more.

The trashing will continue with the trial of Omar Khadr, scheduled to begin October 8. Jennifer Turner of the ACLU Human Rights Program is in Guantánamo right now observing Khadr’s pretrial hearings. Jennifer recently authored Soldiers of Misfortune, a report on child soldiers which touches on the U.S.’s treatment of Khadr and how it’s at odds with the standards set by the United Nations.

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