Prosecutors seek to reverse war court sentence

Pentagon prosecutors are asking a military judge to reverse himself and reassemble the jury that convicted Osama bin Laden's driver at Guantanamo, seeking to overturn a sentence that could make the first war court convict eligible for release by New Year's Eve.

At issue is a decision at the first U.S. war crimes tribunal since World War II by the judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, to award credit of 61 months and eight days for time already served to Salim Hamdan, 40, of Yemen.

Prosecutors claim in a six-page motion, filed Sept. 24 but still not made public on Friday, that military commissions judges aren't entitled to grant credit for time served as "enemy combatants.''

Three military attorneys separately summarized its contents for The Miami Herald.

A military jury convicted Hamdan of providing material support for terrorism on Aug. 6. At the sentencing phase, the panel specifically asked Allred how much credit Hamdan would get for time served. Allred said he had awarded credit of 61 months and eight days, time the judge calculated Hamdan was in a different status than a run-of-the-mill enemy combatant.

The jury of five colonels and lieutenant colonels led by a U.S. Navy captain then issued a 66-month sentence and returned to their different duties in different services across the U.S. military.

''The prosecution believes the judge had no legal authority to grant the credit,'' said Air Force Maj. Gail Crawford, a commissions spokesman. "As to remedy, they asked the judge to set aside the sentence, reassemble and reinstruct the panel and have them resume sentence deliberations.''

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