Detainee trial ruling faces appeal

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration served official notice Friday that it will appeal a judge’s ruling that stopped proceedings in the first trial by a military commission of an alleged al-Qaeda member.

The two-page notice filed by the Justice Department said the government will appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. No immediate timetable was given for filing of the appeal.

The ruling Monday by U.S. District Judge James Robertson found that detainees at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, may be considered prisoners of war entitled to certain rights under the Geneva Conventions.

The Bush administration has insisted that al-Qaeda fighters are not covered under those treaties. Attorney General John Ashcroft denounced in a speech Friday what he called “excessive judicial encroachment” into President Bush’s ability to fight the war on terror.

The ruling brought a halt to the trial of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a detainee captured in Afghanistan who the government claims was a driver for Osama bin Laden.


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