An update on the Guantanamo commission case of Ali Al-Bahlul. Bahlul has prevailed on his claim that the USCMCR applied an incorrect standard on resentencing, and the case has been remanded.
Opinion here. Given the involvement of various members of the editorial team in this litigation, I offer only the following snip from Bloomberg's Bernie Pazanowski:
"The life sentence given Osama bin Laden’s propaganda chief must be reevaluated again by a military commission that previously reaffirmed it on remand, the D.C. Circuit said Tuesday.
The Court of Military Commission Review applied the wrong standard when it upheld Ali Hamza Almad Suliman Al Bahlul’s life sentence, the opinion by Judge Neomi Rao said.
Al Bahlul received the life sentence after being convicted for conspiracy to commit war crimes, providing material support for terrorism, and soliciting others to commit war crimes.
The first time the case was appealed, the D.C. Circuit only upheld the conspiracy count, and remanded with instructions for the commission to determine if vacating the other two convictions affected the sentence.
On remand, the commission rejected Al Bahlul’s constitutional challenges to the sentence and affirmed it. The commission said the vactures [sic] didn’t effect the sentence, which would have been imposed even if Al Bahlul was only convicted of the conspiracy, and that any constitutional error was harmless.
Constitutional errors must be harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, the court here said. By relying on the fact Al Bahlul would have received the life sentence even if he was only convicted of the conspiracy, the commission didn’t address whether the alleged constitutional errors were harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, it said.
The case was remanded for application of the proper harmless error standard."
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