Bin Laden’s chef = 30 years too?

So even if you were Bin Laden’s chef, toilet cleaner you get 30 years too???

So who’s going to charge Bush for the mess he’s done?
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Prosecutors ask 30 years for bin Laden driver
By MIKE MELIA, Associated Press Writer

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – Salim Hamdan pleaded with a military jury on Thursday to spare him from a life in prison, saying he worked as Osama bin Laden’s driver because he needed a job. Prosecutors asked for a sentence of no less than 30 years.

Hamdan, a Yemeni man with a fourth-grade education, was convicted by the six Pentagon-appointed jurors of aiding terrorism by chauferring bin Laden around Afghanistan at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. But he said he merely had a “relationship of respect” with bin Laden, as would any other employee.

“It’s true there are work opportunities in Yemen, but not at the level I needed after I got married and not to the level of ambitions that I had in my future,” he said, reading in Arabic from a prepared statement.

The jury found Hamdan guilty of aiding terrorism but acquitted him of conspiracy Wednesday at the first U.S. war crimes trial since World War II.

Under tribunal rules, the jury imposes the sentence, not the judge. Their verdict does not have to be unanimous. A Pentagon legal official later reviews the sentence and can reduce but not increase it.

The military judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, already ruled that Hamdan should receive five years of credit for the time he has served at Guantanamo Bay since the Pentagon decided to charge him.

The tribunals’ chief prosecutor, Army Col. Lawrence Morris, earlier said the failure to convict Hamdan of both charges would factor into his team’s recommended sentence.

A psychiatrist hired by the defense told jurors that Hamdan has the potential to be rehabilitated.

The verdict will be appealed automatically to a special military appeals court in Washington. Hamdan can then appeal to U.S. civilian courts as well.

Deputy White House spokesman Tony Fratto applauded what he called “a fair trial” and said prosecutors will now proceed with other war crimes trials at the isolated U.S. military base in southeast Cuba. Prosecutors intend to try about 80 Guantanamo detainees for war crimes, including 19 already charged.

But defense lawyers said Hamdan’s rights were denied by an unfair process, hastily patched together after Supreme Court rulings that previous tribunal systems violated U.S. and international law.

Hamdan has been held at Guantanamo since May 2002. The military has not said where he would serve a sentence, but the commander of the detention center, Navy Rear Adm. David Thomas, said last week that convicted prisoners will be held apart from the general detainee population.

Under the military commission, Hamdan did not have all the rights normally accorded either by U.S. civilian or military courts. The judge allowed secret testimony and hearsay evidence. Hamdan was not judged by a jury of his peers and he received no Miranda warning about his rights.

Hamdan’s attorneys said interrogations at the center of the government’s case were tainted by coercive tactics, including sleep deprivation and solitary confinement.

All that is in contrast to the courts-martial used to prosecute American troops in Iraq and Vietnam, which accorded defendants more rights.

The five-man, one-woman jury convicted Hamdan on five counts of supporting terrorism, accepting the prosecution argument that Hamdan aided terrorism by becoming a member of al-Qaida in Afghanistan and serving as bin Laden’s armed bodyguard and driver while knowing that the al-Qaida leader was plotting attacks against the U.S.

But he was found not guilty on three other counts alleging he knew that his work would be used for terrorism and that he provided surface-to-air missiles to al-Qaida.

He also was cleared of two charges of conspiracy alleging he was part of the al-Qaida effort to attack the United States — the most serious charges, according to deputy chief defense counsel Michael Berrigan.

Berrigan noted the conspiracy charges were the only ones Hamdan originally faced when his case prompted the Supreme Court to halt the tribunals. Prosecutors added the new charges after the Bush administration rewrote the rules.

“The problem is the law was specifically written after the fact to target Mr. Hamdan,” said Charles Swift, one of Hamdan’s civilian lawyers.

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~ by nursheikha on August 7, 2008.

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