GOOD NEWS DEPT: Bin Laden’s Former Driver Sentenced to 5 1/2 Years
A military jury has sentenced Osama bin Laden’s former driver to 5 1/2 years in prison Thursday after he was convicted of providing material support to terrorists in the first U.S. war crimes trial since World War II. The judge gave Salim Ahmed Hamdan credit for the slightly more than five years he has been held at Guantanamo.
The judge gave Salim Ahmed Hamdan credit for the slightly more than five years he has been held at Guantanamo, so he could be released in five months. But the U.S. government has argued it can detain Hamdan and other “enemy combatants” indefinitely as long as the war on terrorism continues.
Hamdan, testifying at the sentencing hearing, had pleaded for a light sentence and apologized to U.S. victims of terrorist attacks. “It was a sorry or sad thing to see innocent people killed,” Hamdan was quoted as saying.
“I personally present my apologies to them if anything what I did have caused them pain.”
He admitted that he kept working for the al-Qaeda leader even after he learned that bin Laden had planned terrorist attacks.
But he said that his only motive was supporting his family. The Yemeni father of two, who has a fourth-grade education, said he needed a job and that bin Laden paid well and treated him with respect.
Over time, his views of bin Laden changed, Hamdan told the six military jurors who will sentence him for supporting terrorism. Standing amid his lawyers, his head bowed, he acknowledged that he knew bin Laden was behind the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in a harbor in Yemen.