07 Aug Colonel Morris Davis on the Hamdan Sentence
Salim Hamdan has been sentenced to 66 months in prison, far short of the 30 years-to-life sentence the prosecution requested. Good news for Hamdan? Probably not, as Colonel Morris Davis — the third chief prosecutor of the military commissions, who resigned because of political interference by the Pentagon — pointed out in the comments to my ex post facto post:
The jury sentenced Hamdan to 66 months. The judge gave him credit for nearly 61 months of time served, so he has less than 6 months remaining on his sentence. Hamdan won in the Supreme Court in 2006 and ended up back in his cell. He won again a little over a year ago when Judge Allred dismissed charges because the word “unlawful” was missing from the CSRT determination, which is required for MCA jurisdiction. Again, Hamdan won but ended up back in his cell. This time he lost, but in the end losing may equate to winning. It remains to be seen whether the administration intends to keep Hamdan past the end of his sentence; doing so begs the question of why we even bother to hold trials. If you look at Hicks (9 months) and Hamdan (<6 months) it suggests the best way to win at Gitmo is to lose.
In the time since Col. Morris posted his comment, the Bush administration removed any doubt that Hamdan isn’t going anywhere: earlier today a Pentagon spokesman stated that Hamdan will “still be retained as an enemy combatant,” his only hope for release “the annual review board process to determine whether he’s eligible for release or transfer.”