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US Military Judge Rules Interrogation Valid for Guantanamo Trial


A U.S. military judge has ruled that prosecutors will be allowed to use a disputed interrogation as evidence in the trial of a former driver for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Thursday's ruling allows a military commission at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to pursue terrorism charges against Salim Hamdan.

Hamdan's lawyers argued that his interrogation should not be used because the testimony was coerced. They also denied prosecutors' claims that Hamdan admitted to swearing his loyalty to bin Laden.

Prosecutors say Hamdan conspired with al-Qaida to plan attacks on the United States. But defense lawyers say he was a low-level al-Qaida employee with no involvement in terrorism.

The Yemeni prisoner faces life in prison if convicted on charges of conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism.

He was captured in Afghanistan in 2001, and has been held at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay awaiting trial.

The U.S. detention center and the military commission trying Hamdan have come under strong domestic and international criticism.

About 270 people are detained at Guantanamo. Some of them have been held for years without charge.

The Bush administration has declared the detainees unlawful enemy combatants, not entitled to the rights afforded prisoners of war. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo can challenge their detentions in civilian courts.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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