Salim Ahmad Hamdan – a Yemeni national – was the fourth detainee held at a US naval base in Guantanamo Bay to be referred to trial by a US military commission on so-called terrorism charges.
Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita told journalists on Wednesday that the conspiracy charges appeared to hinge entirely on Hamdan’s association with bin Ladin from 1996 onwards.
Hamdan is suspected of having been a bodyguard and personal driver for bin Ladin, but has not been accused of involvement in 9/11 or other major attacks linked to al-Qaida.
But the charge sheet said the Yemeni had delivered weapons, ammunition and supplies to al-Qaida members and associates, and picked up weapons at Taliban warehouses and delivered them to prominent al-Qaida member, Saif al-Adil.
Hamdan “purchased or ensured that Toyota Hi Lux trucks were available for use by the Usama bin Ladin bodyguard unit tasked with protecting and providing physical security for Usama bin Ladin,” it said.
He also “served as a driver for Usama bin Ladin and other high ranking al-Qaida members and associates”.
Other charges include being present at bin Ladin speeches in which he would encourage others to conduct “martyrdom missions” to drive the US military out of the Arabian peninsula.
The military also alleges Hamdan received training on rifles, handguns and machine guns at al-Qaida’s al-Faruq camp in Afghanistan on various occasions between November 1996 and November 2001, when he was captured.