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Possible Appeal in Gitmo Case

Posted Jun 5, 2007 7:26 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Military prosecutors are considering an appeal of yesterday’s decisions tossing out charges against two Guantanamo detainees because they were not properly classified as “unlawful” enemy combatants.

Prosecutors asked for a 72-hour delay to consider an appeal of the first judge’s decision in the case of Omar Khadr, a Canadian captured on the Afghanistan battlefield at age 15, to the Court of Military Commission Review, the Washington Post reports.

The New York Times interviewed military lawyers who said there were substantial arguments for reversal. Another option is to amend Defense Department regulations or the Military Commissions Act.

The judge in the first case, Army Col. Peter Brownback, said the Military Commissions Act requires detainees to be classified as unlawful enemy combatants before trial. Khadr had been classified in 2004 by the Combatant Status Review Tribunal, created by Pentagon regulations, merely as an “enemy combatant,” the Times explains. SCOTUSblog posted the ruling (PDF).

Later in the day, Capt. Keith Allred dropped charges against Bin Laden driver Salim Ahmed Hamdan on the same grounds. Hamdan's lawyer told the New York Times in a separate story that the decision was "a victory for the rule of law.”

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