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Bin Laden's driver to be sent to Yemen

WASHINGTON, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Osama bin Laden's former driver, whose trial tested the Bush administration's military commission system, will be returned to Yemen, the U.S. military said.

Salim Ahmed Hamdan will be released from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transferred to his native Yemen, where he will serve the monthlong remainder of his sentence, The New York Times reported.

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"The Yemeni government is very pleased by the announcement to transfer the Yemeni detainee Saleh Ahmed bin Hamdan," Mohammed al Basha, a spokesman for the Yemeni Embassy in Washington, said. "We hope that this will be a positive first step to the transfer of the remaining detainees."

Hamdan, captured in Afghanistan in 2001, will be imprisoned until Dec. 27 at a facility in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, then released to his wife and children under supervision, the embassy spokesman said.

Although considered a dangerous terrorist by the Bush administration, Hamdan was convicted on lesser charges and given essentially a four-month sentence by a military jury in August.

"Legally, we absolutely have a right to hold enemy combatants, but politically is he the guy we want to fight all the way to the Supreme Court about?" a defense official familiar with the situation told The Washington Post. "I think we came to the conclusion that, no, he wasn't. This is a win for everyone."

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