WASHINGTON (CN) – A federal judge turned down a bid to postpone the military trial of Guantanamo detainee Salim Hamdan, an accused al-Qaida member and Osama bin Laden’s former driver, in the first detainee trial set for next week.
U.S. District Judge James Robertson said Hamdan could only challenge the constitutionality of his military commission after trial. Robertson was the judge who previously found President Bush’s procedures for military commissions were inadequate. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld his 2004 ruling, prompting Congress to pass the Military Commissions Act of 2006.
Hamdan’s lawyers fought to postpone the trial, saying the rules for military trials were uncertain, and the trials themselves would contain testimony based on hearsay and coercive interrogation methods.
Deputy Assistant Attorney General John O’Quinn claimed Congress clearly laid out the rules in the Congress Military Commissions Act.
Robertson agreed with O’Quinn that Hamdan’s challenge should come after his trial, but refused to rule on the act’s constitutionality. The judge stressed that the ruling only applied to Hamdan and was not binding on other detainee cases.
Court officials said the first proceedings in the trial could be held Monday, according to The New York Times.