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US Army officer describes Hamdan capture at Guantanamo hearing

[JURIST] A US Army major testified Thursday at a pretrial hearing to determine whether Yemeni Guantanamo Bay detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive] qualifies as an unlawful enemy combatant [JURIST news archive], describing the circumstances under which Hamdan was taken into custody in Afghanistan in November 2001. If Hamdan, allegedly a driver for Osama bin Laden before his capture and incarceration, is found to be an unlawful enemy combatant, he can face trial under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [PDF text; JURIST news archive]. Army Maj. Henry Smith testified as to whether Hamdan was wearing any insignia that would mark him as a soldier at the time of his arrest, the manner in which he was arrested, and conditions on the ground at the time. Smith was the first witness to testify before a military commission since Congress passed the revised Act last year.

A US military judge Wednesday denied [JURIST report] a request by lawyers for Hamdan to meet with top terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], citing security concerns. Lawyers had hoped that the suspects, including alleged Sept. 11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [BBC profile], would be allowed to testify that Hamdan was not a devoted member of al Qaeda and should not be tried as an unlawful enemy combatant under the US military commission system. AP has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

12/7/07 - In additional testimony before the military commission Thursday, FBI Special Agent George Crouch testified that Hamdan admitted to FBI interrogators that he served as bin Ladin's chauffeur. Crouch also testified that Hamdan knew about al Qaeda's role in the Sept. 11 attacks. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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