Bin Laden's ex-driver set free in Yemen | world | Hindustan Times
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Bin Laden's ex-driver set free in Yemen

Osama bin Laden's ex-driver, Salim Hamdan, has been set free in Yemen where he returned in November after spending seven years at the US detention camp of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

world Updated: Jan 12, 2009 14:11 IST

Osama bin Laden's ex-driver, Salim Hamdan, has been set free in Yemen where he returned in November after spending seven years at the US detention camp of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, a relative said on Monday.

Hamdan arrived at his family's home on Thursday on being released by Yemeni police "after presenting a commercial guarantee," the relative told AFP requesting anonymity.

The guarantee, a form of bail in which a businessman stands surety for him, "is due to the fact that he remains a suspected member of Al-Qaeda," an official told AFP, asking not to be named.

Hamdan had been held at the political security prison since he returned to Yemen on November 26.

In August, Hamdan was found guilty on one count of providing material support to terrorism, but cleared of more serious charges that he conspired and plotted attacks for Al-Qaeda.

In the first Guantanamo terrorism trial, a jury of six US military officers sentenced Hamdan to five years and six months for supporting terrorism. Taking into account time served, this amounted to only another five months.

Hamdan, who is about 40, was detained by US forces in Afghanistan in late 2001 and arrived at Guantanamo in 2002. He was bin Laden's former driver and sometime bodyguard, but denied involvement in terrorist activities.

Between 1996 and November of 2001, Hamdan drove or accompanied bin Laden to various Al-Qaeda-sponsored training camps, news conferences or lectures, the indictment said.