Aug 06 2008

Graham on the Hamdan Verdict

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the verdict reached by the military commission in the Hamdan case. 

Hamdan was convicted by a panel of six military officers of providing material support for terrorism.  He was acquitted on a more serious charge of conspiracy.  The Hamdan case was the first military commission trial here and the first conducted by the United States since the end of World War II.

Graham said:

“With 25 years of experience as a military lawyer, I have a great deal of confidence in military judges, juries, prosecutors and defense attorneys to fairly and appropriately deal with allegations of war crimes by unlawful enemy combatants.  These are the same lawyers and jurors who sit in judgment of our own troops when they are accused of misconduct.  

“As one of the primary authors of the Military Commissions Act (MCA), I continue to believe the military commission setting is the right venue for these trials, not civilian courts.  Every conviction by the military commission, like Hamdan, can be appealed to federal civilian court and the Supreme Court.  The due process rights granted to unlawful enemy combatants under the MCA are far beyond anything offered in other wars. 

“I was pleased the commission proceedings were open to the public to the maximum extent possible and the judge prohibited the use of evidence he found to be a result of coercive interrogations.   

“I have always believed it would be a major mistake to view those alleged to have been involved with Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations to be common criminals instead of the warriors they claim to be.  I believe military commissions are the right approach to deliver justice and protect our nation in the War on Terror.”