Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba The conviction of Osama bin Laden's driver by a U.S. military court after a 10-day trial provides an indication of what to expect as dozens more Guantanamo prisoners go to court: shifting charges, secret testimony - and quick verdicts.
Salim Hamdan held his head in his hands and wept Wednesday as the six-member military jury declared the Yemeni guilty of aiding terrorism, which could bring a maximum life sentence. But in a split decision, the jury in America's first war-crimes trial since the aftermath of World War II cleared him of two charges of conspiracy.
Deputy White House spokesman Tony Fratto applauded what he called "a fair trial" and said prosecutors will proceed with other war crimes trials. But defense lawyers said their client's rights were denied by an unfair process, patched together after the Supreme Court rulings that previous tribunal systems violated U.S. and international law.
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.
The five-man, one-woman jury convicted Hamdan on five counts of supporting terrorism. 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.
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.