Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Justice is (badly) Served

Salim Ahmed Hamdan has been returned to his native Yemen, ostensibly to serve the final months of the sentence he received from the military commission that convicted him of providing material support to Al Queda, but cleared him of the more serious charges of conspiracy. The majority of his 5 and a half year sentence was served at Guantanamo prior to his trial and conviction. What can one make of this? A few thoughts come to mind.

First, that US justice, even in its most adulterated form, can succeed. A man can be found guilty, or not; serve his allotted sentence, and go free. Second, that this can only happen when the accused are put to trial; sadly, Hamdan is one of only 11 detainees to get even this sort of trial; over 500 more have never received this opportunity. Lastly, it makes one pause to wonder; if a man is found innocent, years after his incarceration, how will the U.S., this supposed bastion of freedom and democracy, restore that most precious commodity that it has wrongly stolen from them - time.


Diodotus said...

I think your last question is the most interesting, but the least relevant to the Hamdan case, since he was found guilty not innocent, and got credit for the time he had already served.

Your question is more applicable to the many innocent people who languish in prison in the US, for example, despite our due process laws. It's an interesting question whether the government owes such people anything besides freedom once it has been determined that it has erred. Establishing a system of compensation in such cases would be an interesting idea. What might it entail?

Anonymous said...

What is the deal with the black text? Hard to read.

Cleitus the Black said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cleitus the Black said...

Et tu, Anonymous?

The deal with the black text is that Cleitus the Black is either:

(a) A ham-handed amateur in the literary arts, who's better at swinging a sword than slinging prose,

(b) In love with his own sobriquet to the extent that he uses it as a text color even when it clashes with the theme of the media for which he's writing, or

(c) Ostensibly human, and thus occasionally makes an honest mistake, mea mea culpa.

Take your pick.

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