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Jury Begins Deliberating Case Against Bin Laden's Driver


A jury made up of U.S. military officers has begun deliberating the case of Salim Hamdan, a former driver to al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden.

Hamdan, a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is on trial in a military tribunal on charges of conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism.

The jury began considering the evidence of those charges Monday afternoon. During the two-week trial at the U.S. naval facility, prosecutors said Hamdan was an active member of al-Qaida who delivered weapons for the terrorist group and helped protect bin Laden.

But the defense argued that Hamdan was a simple man who just wanted to earn a living and was not part of al-Qaida.

Regardless of the verdict, Hamdan, who is classified as an enemy combatant, is likely to remain in detention.

Hamdan is the first detainee at Guantanamo to face a full trial since the detention center opened in early 2002.

In a lawsuit brought on by Hamdan's attorneys, the U.S. Supreme Court in 2006 struck down a military tribunal system to try the detainees, ruling that President George Bush overstepped his constitutional powers.

The U.S. Congress then passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, under which Hamdan is currently being tried. The Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that Guantanamo detainees can challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts.

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

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