Yesterday, a military jury began deliberations in the trial of Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s former driver, on whether Hamdan conspired with al Qaeda in terrorist attacks. The trial is the first U.S. military commission since World War II. In a Pentagon press briefing today, spokesperson Geoff Morrell said the U.S. will detain Hamdan regardless of the verdict:
MORRELL: Even if he were acquitted of the charges that are before him, he would still be considered an enemy combatant and therefore would continue to be subject to continued detention. Of course, that said, he would also have the opportunity to go before the administrative review board and they could determine whether he is a suitable candidate for release or transfer.
But in the near term, at least, we would consider him an enemy combatant and still a danger and would likely still be detained for some period of time thereafter.
NPR’s John McChesney said Hamdan could remain behind bars at Guantanamo for an “indefinite time” after an acquittal. He added that “Hamdan will not get a single day” off his detention for the seven years that he has been held at Guantanamo.