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    Courtroom sketch, Ali Hamza al Bahlul appears before a military commission at Guantanamo Naval Base in Guantanamo, Cuba. (File)

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    A US Court of Appeals has eliminated the conviction of Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, who was found guilty of supporting al-Qaeda, because it violated the separation of powers, letting Congress side-step the US judicial system, according to media reports on Friday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — In November 2008, a military tribunal convicted Ali Hamza al-Bahlul of performing media relations for al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, and handed him a sentence of life in jail.

    “In a 2-1 opinion, judges on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit invalidated the military commission’s conviction on conspiracy charges,” The Hill reported.

    In Friday’s ruling, Judge Judith Rogers wrote on behalf of the majority that al-Bahlul’s conviction of conspiracy to support al-Qaeda “violated the separation of powers by allowing Congress to side-step the judicial system.”

    Additionally, the Court of Appeals made invalid the military tribunal’s conviction of conspiracy charges as conspiracy is a domestic crime, not one recognized under international law pertaining to war, according to media reports.

    The decision can either be appealed to the US Supreme Court, brought before the full slate of judges on the appeals court or left to stand as it is.


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