Bin Laden’s Former Driver Acquitted in US

October 17, 2012  

On Tuesday, a three-judge bench at the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington revoked the conviction of Osama bin Laden’s former driver, Salim Hamdan – who was jailed at Guantanamo – saying material support for terrorism does not constitute a war crime, the AFP reported.

The Yemeni citizen’s appeal in civilian court could have “ramifications for other suspects as ‘material support for terrorism’ is a common charge against detainees at the US prison camp in Cuba.” according to the report.

The court said that in the future, “U.S. prosecutors instead had to rely on international law, which defines some forms of terrorism — such as the intentional targeting of civilians — as war crimes.”

“The issue here is whether ‘material support for terrorism’ is an international-law war crime. The answer is no,” wrote Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

“International law leaves it to individual nations to proscribe material support for terrorism under their domestic laws if they so choose. There is no international-law proscription of material support for terrorism,” the letter continued.

According to the U.S. prosecutors, Hamdan had moved from Afghanistan to Yemen – then coming under control of the Taliban – in 1996 and assisted at a training camp for bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network.

“Hamdan became a driver who transported weapons and other goods between Al-Qaeda sites in Afghanistan and later became bin Laden’s personal driver and bodyguard, according to US court documents,” explained an article in the AFP Paris bureau.

The culprit was caught and detained in November of 2001, one month after the United States attacked Afghanistan in response to the September 11 attacks.

According to prosecutors, Hamdan was captured while driving toward the Taliban’s hub of Kandahar and possessed two anti-aircraft missiles.

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