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US sends bin Laden's driver home

world Updated: Nov 26, 2008 09:22 IST
Jane Sutton

The United States has sent Osama bin Laden's former driver home to Yemen from the Guantanamo prison camp to serve the last few weeks of his sentence for providing material support for terrorism, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

Salim Hamdan was the first prisoner to be convicted in a full trial of the widely criticized tribunals set up by the Bush administration and the U.S. Congress to try non-Americans on terrorism charges outside the regular civilian and military courts at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

The Pentagon confirmed in a statement that Hamdan had been transferred to Yemen but provided no further details.

In the first U.S. war crimes trial since World War Two, Hamdan was convicted in August of providing personal services in support of terrorism, specifically driving and guarding a man he knew to be the leader of al Qaeda.

But he was acquitted of more serious charges of conspiring with al Qaeda to wage deadly attacks.

Hamdan was sentenced to 66 months in prison but given credit for some of the time served at Guantanamo, so that his term was set to end by New Year's Eve. The Pentagon said the remaining weeks of his sentence would be served in Yemen.