Salim Ahmed Hamdan, widely known as Osama bin Ladenís driver, was apprehended in November 2001, interrogated and kept in confinement by American military forces in Afghanistan for 5-6 months, and then transferred in April 2002 to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In July 2003, after more than a year of additional interrogations at Guantanamo, President Bush designated him as one of a handful of prisoners who would be prosecuted for crimes against the United States on the basis that he had engaged in acts of terrorism against American targets both in the United States and abroad.
In December 2003, Hamdan was assigned a military defense lawyer, who, along with Georgetown University Law Professor Neal Katyal (currently serving as Acting Solicitor General of the United States) and our faculty member, Mr. Harry H. Schneider, Jr. of Perkins Coie LLP, in Seattle, WA., brought a petition for writ of habeas corpus in April, 2004 asserting claims against the President and the Secretary of Defense, challenging their authority to try the Accused before a Military Commission at Guantanamo. The case eventually went to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled in 2006 in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that the President had exceeded his authority as Commander in Chief under the Constitution, that the proceedings violated the statutory protections of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and that the prisoner was entitled to but had been denied certain protections of international law, including rights afforded prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions.
In October 2006, in a direct legislative response to the Supreme Court`s ruling, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act and charges against Hamdan promptly were re-filed in April 2007. Although the Perkins Coie attorneys had not appeared in the first military commissions proceedings, in early 2007 the Chief Defense Counsel, Office of Military Commissions, Department of Defense, urged them to stay on as defense counsel for Hamdan and participate in the trial of the criminal case. They agreed, and the trial took place during the summer of 2008 at Guantanamo.
Join us as Mr. Schneider and other faculty members provide an overview of both the civil proceedings brought on behalf of Guantanamo detainees, including habeas petitions for those who have not been charged with a crime, as well as a behind the scenes look at the trial itself. Hamdan`s trial was the first and, so far, the only contested trial at Guantanamo to reach a verdict. Mr. Schneider is joined by panelists Peter M. Ryan of Cozen O`Connor, John C. Snodgrass of Pepper Hamilton, and solo practitioner Stephen M. Truitt, each of whom have represented Guantanamo detainees in federal habeas proceedings.
Frank C. Razzano, Esq., Pepper Hamilton LLP , Washington, DC
Peter M. Ryan, Esq., Cozen O'Connor, Philadelphia
Harry H. Schneider, Jr., Esq., Perkins Coie LLP , Seattle, WA