Hamdan Case Lends Tribunals Credibility

Proceeding prepares Gitmo court for moving on to bigger targets
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2008 11:28 AM CDT
Experts say the outcome of the Salim Hamdan trial may lend credibility to the Guantanamo tribunals.   (AP Photo/Janet Hamlin, Pool, File)
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(Newser) – The conviction of  Osama bin Laden’s driver on a relatively minor charge, and the imposition of a light sentence, may vouch for the integrity of the Guantanamo military court and clear the way for trials of upper-echelon detainees, the LA Times reports. The White House is particularly eager to proceed against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

Quelling fears that the court would be a sham, the military jurors acquitted Salim Hamdan of conspiracy and credited him with time already served, meaning his sentence has less than a year to run. But some remain unconvinced: "This was a case of a fair-minded panel of military officers operating in a fundamentally unfair system," said a human-rights lawyer.