Fighting for the Rights of Everyone


Neal Katyal recalls the moment he met his client at Guantanamo Bay. Salim Hamdan, formerly Osama bin Laden's driver who was being charged with supporting terrorism, asked Katyal why he had taken the case as he was aware the lawyer had previously represented Vice President Gore.

Katyal gathered his thoughts and told Hamdan why.

“My parents didn’t come to the USA because of the quality of its sports teams or the beauty of its soil. They came to America because they knew they would be treated fairly.”

From that moment on, the lawyer with an Indian, Hindu background and his Yemeni, Muslim client were able to work together. Katyal says he was fighting not only for the rights of Osama bin Laden's driver, “but for the rights of everyone.”

This report gives more fascinating background on a trial whose outcome in 2006 has been labelled ‘historic’. Salim Hamdan scored a second legal victory in 2012.

(Image: artist's depiction of Salim Hamdan at the Supreme Court. Copyright AFP)