In many people’s opinion worldwide, US detainment of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay is legally iffy. I mean, hello, habeas corpus? It is thus kind of interesting to learn about the first sentence pronounced for a Gitmo detainee, that of Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s driver. Hamdan was captured after a firefight in Afghanistan in November 2001.

Here is an example of what kind of people are actually being kept at Guantanamo. The court in question is a military one, and so can be expected to hand out pretty harsh justice, but still. The sentence should give us a rough idea of how bad a man, how dangerous a terrorist, Hamdan is. Is it capital punishment? Imprisonment for life? A few hundred years’ imprisonment?

No. Hamdan has been sentenced to 5½ years in jail. (For comparison, this is what you get in Canada for not informing your bedmates that you have HIV.) But he’s already been held in custody for six years and nine months (and I’m not even going into the imprisonment conditions). So now the US owe Hamdan one year and four months’ imprisonment. Might Dick Cheney be persuaded to do the time?

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Comments

  1. #1 Bob O'H
    August 8, 2008

    According to the BBC, he will serve 5 months, so I guess some of that time wasn’t counted. They also pointed out that he could be detained as an “enemy combatant” indefinitely (or perhaps until Bush leaves office).

    It sounds like some in the US military have sense, though.

  2. #2 Pär
    August 8, 2008

    Make that “will be”, Bob. At least according to this BBC News report.

  3. #3 Martin R
    August 8, 2008

    Kangaroo court, anyone?

  4. #4 Flaky
    August 8, 2008

    Even the charge he was convicted of is BS. Since when do USA’s laws cover the whole world? It might’ve been illegal to drive Bin Laden around in USA, but this guy was doing it in Afghanistan.

  5. #5 Martin R
    August 8, 2008

    But you conveniently forget about the “They Tried To Kill My Dad” amendment to the US Constitution!

  6. #6 student_b
    August 8, 2008

    Yep, Kangaroo court.

    I mean, what’s the point of a sentence, when you keep someone imprisoned anyway?

    Bloody banana republic, really. :|

  7. #7 Pär
    August 8, 2008

    Is a kangaroo court just another expression for trial by wombat?

  8. #8 Martin R
    August 9, 2008

    Argle, Pär. Gah. (-;

  9. #9 barbara huffert
    August 9, 2008

    I live here and I don’t understand the reasoning behind half of what goes on. I’ve learned not to comment publicly for the most part. I’m sure I’m already on more than enough lists as it is.