Bin Laden's Driver Leaves Guantanamo

Convict transferred to Yemen to serve remainder of sentence
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2008 5:45 AM CST
Salim Hamdan, left, during his trial inside the war crimes courthouse at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, in Cuba. Hamdan, who was sentenced to 5 1/2 years, is being transferred to Yemen.   (AP Photo/Janet Hamlin, Pool)
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(Newser) – Salim Hamdan, the former driver of Osama bin Laden and one of only two suspected terrorists convicted at Guantanamo Bay, is being transferred to his homeland of Yemen. Hamdan was sentenced in August to just 5 months' detention on top of the 5 years he served at the prison camp, far less than military prosecutors sought. The move may signal a concession of failure on the part of the Bush administration, whose request that Hamdan's sentence be reexamined was denied, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The US has been reluctant to extradite detainees to Yemen, the birth country of about 100 of Guantanamo's 250 prisoners, citing concerns that the country would not monitor them. One lawyer at the prison's military commissions said that the Hamdan repatriation would provide the "grease" to transfer the rest of the Yemenis if and when an Obama administration shuts down Guantanamo.