Pentagon Charges Bin Laden's Former Driver

Pentagon Charges Bin Laden's Former Driver
May 11th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Pentagon Charges Bin Laden's Former Driver

Pentagon Charges Bin Laden's Former Driver
Los Angeles Times
May 11, 2007
Salim Ahmed Hamdan is to be tried before a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay.
By Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writer
MIAMI The Pentagon on Thursday charged Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a former bodyguard and driver for Osama bin Laden, with conspiracy and material support for terrorism, and referred the Yemeni for prosecution at the U.S. military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
It was Hamdan's challenge of the U.S. government's bid to detain and prosecute him at the tribunal that brought down President Bush's previous military tribunal process, which the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional last year.
In its place, Congress passed the 2006 Military Commissions Act in September, which created a new tribunal system for prosecuting the Pentagon's terrorism suspects.
It specifically stripped detainees of the right to challenge their detention through writs of habeas corpus.
The maximum sentence for a conviction of conspiracy or material support is life in prison.
Hamdan is the third Guantanamo Bay prisoner charged since the military court was reconstituted.
The five-page charge sheet accuses Hamdan, 37, of conspiring with Bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders in hostile actions against the United States, including the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, the 2000 strike on the U.S. destroyer Cole in a Yemeni harbor, and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed about 3,000 people in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Australian David Hicks, 31, pleaded guilty to similar conspiracy and material support charges in March, becoming the first of about 800 men brought to Guantanamo Bay since January 2002 to be convicted.
The tribunal system's convening authority, Susan J. Crawford, agreed to a reduced sentence for Hicks nine months, most of it at a prison in Australia in exchange for his plea.
Lawyers for Hamdan and Canadian suspect Omar Khadr tried to get the Supreme Court to review the denial of their clients' habeas corpus rights.
On April 30, the Supreme Court voted 4 to 3 not to take up the issue.
Khadr, who was captured five years ago at age 15, is charged with murder, attempted murder and spying, as well as conspiracy and material support for terrorism.
Hamdan and Khadr are expected to be arraigned at Guantanamo Bay in the first week of June.
Trials before the jury-like panels of military officers must begin within 120 days of when the charges were filed.
About 380 prisoners remain at Guantanamo Bay. About 80 of them have been cleared for release or transfer once the State Department finds countries willing to take them.
The tribunal system's chief prosecutor, Air Force Col. Morris Davis, has said about 75 of Guantanamo Bay's prisoners may eventually be tried on suspicion of war crimes.
He said the rest would be held without charges as "enemy combatants" for the duration of the U.S.-proclaimed war on terrorism.

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