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Guantanamo/Detainees

Bin Laden Driver is Not a POW, Military Judge Rules

Posted Dec 20, 2007 2:59 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A military judge at Guantanamo Bay has ruled that the driver for Osama bin Laden is not a prisoner of war.

In an opinion released today, Navy Capt. Keith Allred held that Salim Ahmed Hamdan is instead an unlawful enemy combatant who can be tried by the military commission at Guantanamo, SCOTUSblog reports.

Allred found that Hamdan qualified for commissions trials because of evidence that he drove a vehicle containing surface-to-air missiles to a battlefield in Afghanistan for fighters opposing coalition forces. He had also delivered munitions to al-Qaida, the opinion (PDF) said.

Hamdan's lawyers had contended he was a POW entitled to the protection of the Geneva Conventions, which would have required a trial by court-martial.

Hamdan's military commissions trial is scheduled for March 3, but his lawyers plan to seek a delay at least until May 28, the Associated Press reports.

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