August 8, 2008
Bin Laden’s Ex-Driver Convicted
By The Associated Press
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) - A jury of six U.S. military officers convicted Osama bin Laden's former driver of supporting terrorism Wednesday, but cleared him of conspiracy charges in the first war crimes trial at Guantanamo Bay.The Pentagon- selected jury deliberated for about eight hours over three days before returning the verdict against Salim Hamdan, who held his head in his hands and wept when a Navy captain on the jury read the decision.The jury reconvened hours later for a sentencing hearing in the hilltop courtroom on this U.S. base in southeastern Cuba. Hamdan, who is from Yemen, faces life behind bars, though it is unclear where he would serve his time.Defense lawyers had feared a guilty verdict was inevitable, saying the tribunal system's rules were designed to achieve convictions, according to Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Mizer, Hamdan's Pentagon-appointed attorney."I don't know if the panel can render fair what has already happened," Mizer told reporters as the jury deliberated.But the Bush administration said Hamdan enjoyed a zealous defense and called the verdict fair.The five-man, one-woman jury convicted Hamdan on five counts of supporting terrorism and found him not guilty on three others. He was cleared of two counts of conspiracy.Jurors accepted the prosecution argument that Hamdan aided terrorism by serving as bin Laden's armed bodyguard and driver in Afghanistan while knowing that his boss was plotting attacks against the U.S.