Bin Laden’s driver, Salim Hamdan, was released in Yemen this week Yemeni authorities confirm. The US Military Tribunal sentenced Hamdan to five years, including time served, and returned him to Yemen in November. He served the next and last month of his sentence in jail and is now free.
Follow up measures by the Yemeni government are likely to be lax, considering even terrorists convicted of murder in Yemen get amnesty. (I am referencing the perpetrators of the 2000 USS Cole terror attack that killed 17 US sailors. The terrorists, according to the WaPo, are all free.) Like the terrorists Yemen has already freed, Hamdan gave a pledge to refrain from violence. Yemen’s rehabilitation program strives to convince the jihaddists that President Saleh is not an apostate. The program is widely understood to be a mechanism of expedited release.
The sentence meted out to Hamdan is in stark contrast to that given to that given to Ali Hamza Bahlul, who was sentenced to life in prison for solicitation to commit murder. Bahlul created jihaddist recruiting videos for bin Laden. The reasoning behind his conviction is very similar to that used by the International Criminal Court to convict Rwandan radio station operators of incitement to murder for broadcasting calls to kill Tutsis’s duing the Rwandan genocide. Bahlul is both clearly guilty and clearly a continuing threat. Next up for the Military Commissions is al-Nashiri, allegedly a major figure in the USS Cole bombing along with several other terror attacks and plots. If there is another trial.
Focusing on the Military Commissions themselves, its clear they have been conducted with a high degree of professionalism. As one of the victims’ family members told us, “Thank God we have individuals who are willing to see that justice is served… We are extremely proud of the prosecutions professionalism, dedication and their diligence in their work.”
In Yemen, the same backwards farce continues. The latest outrage by that psychotic mafia is the attempted assassination of a blogger and the imprisonment and torture of several others. Torture in Yemen is real torture. See our earlier report, Witness Testimony From the Dungeons of Yemeni Prisons and note some of these victims are 10 and 12 year old children. What is the Obamamessiah to do?
Not only does Yemen torture its children, but it has been documented to be committing crimes against humanity by withholding food and medicine from the civilian population in the war torn Sa’ada region, while bombing them. Tom Joscelyn of the Long War Journal sent me a breakdown of the remaining Yemeni detainees by “red flags”. And the vast majority have three of more indicators. Some of them are bad dudes (and some not), and recidivism rates are high for committed jihaddists.
News today from the Obama camp is that he will order Gitmo closed within weeks of his ascention to power. What the plan is after that is unclear. If they come onto US soil, and are found not guilty, they will be able to apply for political asylum to remain in the US according to current law. If they are relased to Yemen, they will be freed to operate in an environment that lacks of counter-terror restraints and encourages jihaddists mentality.