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Middle East
Yemen frees Bin Laden driver
Salim Hamdan completes jail term imposed by US military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay.
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2009 21:24 GMT
Salim Hamdan admitted working for bin Laden but said he knew nothing of his aims [File: GALLO/GETTY]

The former driver for Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader, has been released in Yemen following a prison term served after his return from the US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay.

"Salim Hamdan was released on Thursday to live with his family in Sanaa," Khaled al-Ansi, his lawyer, said on Sunday.

Hamdan was returned to Yemen last year after a US military tribunal sentenced him to 66 months in custody for "providing personal services in support of terrorism" by driving and guarding bin Laden.

The father-of-two acknowledged that he had worked for the al-Qaeda leader but said he took the job because he needed the $200 monthly salary and did not know or support his employer's aims.

'Small player'

Hamdan, who had never seen his seven-year-old daughter until he was returned to Yemen, was taken to Guantanamo Bay in May 2002 after being picked up by US forces in Afghanistan.

He had already served more than five years in the US detention centre in Cuba when he was convicted in August and given credit for time served in the facility.

US prosecutors had argued that Hamdan should receive a custodial sentence of 30 years to life, but the military judge dismissed said he was just a "small player" in the al-Qaeda network.

Al-Ansi said that his client had served out the remaining time on his sentence and signed a pledge not to commit any violent acts.

About 100 of the 250 prisoners remaining at Guantanamo Bay are from Yemen, bin Laden's ancestral home.

Source:
Agencies
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