Saturday, August 9, 2008

Guantanamo defendants mostly low-level figures

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) — Osama bin Laden's driver, who received only a five-year sentence, is not so different from the majority of the 265 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay: a low-level player without a proven record of terrorism.

Only a small group of recent arrivals from CIA custody — including five alleged Sept. 11 plotters — seem to fit the profile of hardcore militants who threaten America's existence, men so dangerous that a special tribunal was needed to try them.

The U.S. military officers who served as jurors in the first trial clearly weren't convinced that Osama bin Laden's chauffeur was as dangerous as the prosecution contended, acquitting Salim Hamdan of charges that he conspired with al-Qaida and convicting him mainly of driving a car.

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