Update: Detainee Found Guilty of “War Crime”, Acquitted on Conspiracy Charge


GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — A panel of six military officers convicted a former driver for Osama bin Laden of a war crime Tuesday, completing the first military commission trial here and the first conducted by the United States since the end of World War II.

But the commission acquitted the former driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, of a conspiracy charge, arguably the more serious of two charges he faced. His conviction came on a separate but lesser charge of providing material support for terrorism.

The conviction of Mr. Hamdan, a Yemeni who was part of a select group of drivers and bodyguards for Mr. bin Laden until 2001, was a long-sought, if some what qualified, victory for the Bush administration, which has been working to begin military commission trials at the isolated naval base here for nearly seven years.

Mr. Hamdan was convicted by a panel of six senior military officers who, according to an order of the military judge, could not be publicly identified. As permitted under the law Congress passed for trials here in 2006, the trial included secret evidence and testimony in a closed courtroom.

Mr. Hamdan, who has said he is about 40, faces a possible life term. The sentence is to be set in a separate proceeding before the same panel that is to begin this afternoon.


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