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Profile: Salim Ahmed Hamdan

 
  

Positions that Salim Ahmed Hamdan has held:



 

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Salim Ahmed Hamdan actively participated in the following events:

 
  

July 3, 2003      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       The government announces that President Bush has named six Guantanamo detainees to be tried before a military commission. They are David Hicks from Australia, Moazzam Begg holding dual British and Pakistan nationality, Feroz Abbasi from the UK, Salim Ahmed Hamdan and Ali Hamza Ahmad Sulayman al-Bahlul, both from Yemen, and Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al-Qosi from Sudan. [Department of Defense, 7/3/2003]
People and organizations involved: David Hicks, Feroz Abbasi, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al-Qosi, Moazzam Begg, George W. Bush, Ali Hamza Ahmad Sulayman al-Bahlul
          

January 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       At Guantanamo, Salim Ahmed Hamdan from Yemen is placed in isolation, where he stays until at least August, according to a sworn statement. Hamdan allegedly develops symptoms, like sudden mood changes and suicidal tendencies, that medical experts say indicate a serious and worsening mental illness. This information will later come to light during a hearing in a lawsuit filed in Seattle challenging the authority of the Bush administration to try prisoners as enemy combatants before military tribunals. [New York Times, 8/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Bush administration
          

August 24, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       A hearing is held for Guantanamo detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who is being accused of being a member of al-Qaeda, conspiring to commit acts of terrorism, and destruction of property. The five-member military commission—the first to conduct a trial since World War II—is presided over by Army Col. Peter Brownback, who, according to the Pentagon, has 22 years of experience as a judge advocate and almost 10 as a military judge. [BBC, 6/29/2004; Los Angeles Times, 8/25/2004] Hamdan's military lawyer, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, begins his argument with an attack on Brownback's qualification to practice law. He calls attention to the fact that Bownback, a retired military judge, is not a current member of the bar in his home state of Virginia. He also alleges that the judge's office had inappropriate out-of-court discussions with the Office of Military Commissions, and that Brownback had said in a meeting with defense lawyers that a speedy trial was “not an issue here.” Though Brownback denies making the comment, Swift produces a recording of the conversation. But Bownback isn't the only one put on trial by Swift. He also targets three members of the commission and an alternate member. Swift argues that three have “extensive backgrounds” in dealing with operations in Afghanistan, the treatment of detainees, and military intelligence, and therefore are not in a position to pass an unbiased judgment on the defendant. The alternate member, Lt. Col. Curt S. Cooper, Swift demonstrates, knows little about international law. When asked, “Do you know what the Geneva Convention is, sir?” Cooper replies: “Not specifically. No, Sir. And that's being honest.” But, he adds, he knows that the Convention consists of three articles. But as Swift points out, that is wrong. “Actually, there are six, Sir,” Swift says, correcting him. Air Force Col. Christopher C. Bogden is the only commission member not challenged by Swift. [New York Times, 8/25/2004; Los Angeles Times, 8/25/2004] In addition to his attacks on the commission members, Swift challenges the merits of the charges against his client. For example he argues that Hamden was denied a speedy trial and that the laws he has been accused of violating were written after the alleged offense.
People and organizations involved: Curt S. Cooper, Christopher C. Bogden, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Peter Brownback, Charles Swift
          

October 23, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Following criticism over their impartiality (see August 24, 2004), retired Army Maj. Gen. John D. Altenburg Jr. removes three members from the six-member military commission that is trying enemy combatants at the Guantanamo base in Cuba. [The Independent, 10/23/2004] Altenburg heads the Appointing Authority for the Office of Military Commissions, which selects members of the military commissions. [Los Angeles Times, 8/25/2004] Army Col. Peter Brownback retains his job. Brownback's eligibility to preside over the Guantanamo hearings had earlier been challenged by Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, the attorney for detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan. Critics suggest his close personal relationship with Altenburg is a factor. Brownback was a close colleague of Altenburg at Fort Bragg. He attended the wedding of Altenburg's son, and his wife worked in Altenburg's office. Swift criticizes the decision not to remove Brownback and says the standards “make no sense.” [The Independent, 10/23/2004]
People and organizations involved: Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Peter Brownback, Charles Swift, John D. Altenburg Jr.
          

November 8, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       US District Judge James Robertson rules that the Combatant Status Review Tribunal being held at the Guantanamo base in Cuba to determine the status of detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan is unlawful and cannot continue. At the time of the decision, Hamdan is before the Guantanamo military commission. [USA Today, 11/9/2004; Washington Post, 11/9/2004] Robertson, in his 45-page opinion, says the government should have conducted special hearings to determine whether detainees qualified for prisoner-of-war protections under the Geneva Conventions at the time of capture. [USA Today, 11/9/2004] He says that the Bush administration violated the Geneva Conventions when it designated prisoners as enemy combatants, denied them POW protections, and sent them to Guantanamo. [Boston Globe, 11/9/2004] The Combatant Status Review Tribunals that are currently being held in response to a recent Supreme Court decision (see June 28, 2004) are inadequate, Robertson says, because their purpose is to determine whether detainees are enemy combatants, not POWs, as required by the Third Geneva Convention. [USA Today, 11/9/2004] Robertson also rejects the administration's claim that the courts must defer to the president in a time of war. “The president is not a ‘tribunal,’ ” the judge says. [USA Today, 11/9/2004] Clinton appointee Robertson thus squarely opposes both the president's military order of November 13, 2001 (see November 13, 2001) establishing the possibility of trial by military tribunal, and his executive order of February 7, 2002 (see February 7, 2002) declaring that the Geneva Conventions do not to apply to Taliban and al-Qaeda prisoners. “The government has asserted a position starkly different from the positions and behavior of the United States in previous conflicts,” Robertson writes, “one that can only weaken the United States' own ability to demand application of the Geneva Conventions to Americans captured during armed conflicts abroad.” [USA Today, 11/9/2004; Washington Post, 11/9/2004; Boston Globe, 11/9/2004] Robertson orders that until the government conducts a hearing for Hamdan before a competent tribunal in accordance with the Third Geneva Conventions, he can only be tried in courts-martial, according to the same long-established military rules that apply to trials for US soldiers. [Boston Globe, 11/9/2004; Washington Post, 11/9/2004] Robertson's ruling is the first by a federal judge to assert that the commissions are illegal. [Washington Post, 11/9/2004] Anthony D. Romero, director of the American Civil Liberties Union; Eugene R. Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice; and Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, all applaud Robertson's ruling. [Boston Globe, 11/9/2004] The Bush administration refutes the court's ruling and announces its intention to submit a request to a higher court for an emergency stay and reversal of the decision. “We vigorously disagree. ... The judge has put terrorism on the same legal footing as legitimate methods of waging war,” Justice Department spokesman Mark Corallo says. “The Constitution entrusts to the president the responsibility to safeguard the nation's security. The Department of Justice will continue to defend the president's ability and authority under the Constitution to fulfill that duty.” [Boston Globe, 11/9/2004; Washington Post, 11/9/2004] He also says that the commission rules were “carefully crafted to protect America from terrorists while affording those charged with violations of the laws of war with fair process.” [Boston Globe, 11/9/2004] Though the ruling technically only applies to Hamdan, Hamdan's civilian attorney, Neal Katyal, says it could affect other detainees. “The judge's order is designed only to deal with Mr. Hamdan's case,” Katyal says. “But the spirit of it ... extends more broadly to potentially everything that is going on here at Guantanamo.” [USA Today, 11/9/2004]
People and organizations involved: James Robertson, Supreme Court, Jamil al-Banna, Neal Katyal, Anthony D. Romero, Mark Corallo, George W. Bush, American Civil Liberties Union, Salim Ahmed Hamdan  Additional Info 
          

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