Middle East News
Yemen to receive Bin Laden's ex-driver from Guantanamo
Nov 25, 2008, 9:50 GMT
Sana'a, Yemen - Yemen will receive Osama bin Laden's former driver Salim Hamdan from the US military prison in Guantanamo on the island of Cuba, the Arab country's Defence Ministry said on Tuesday.
'US authorities will hand over the Yemeni citizen Salim Hamdan to Yemen,' the ministry said in a statement posted on its website.
The statement said the extradition would be carried out 'within the next few days,' without elaborating.
Hamdan, 40, was convicted by a US military commission in August of supporting terrorism and sentenced to five and a half years in prison. He is due for release in January with time served.
He was arrested by the US forces in Afghanistan in 2001, and transferred to the Guantanamo prison in 2002.
About 100 of some 250 detainees at the controversial prison camp in Guantanamo Bay are Yemenis. They have become the single largest nationality locked up in Guantanamo as the prison's population steadily declined from a peak of 600 in 2003.
Only 12 Yemenis have been released from the facility since it was set up in 2002.
Of these, five were later released by Yemeni authorities while the rest were put on trial in Yemen for falsifying identification documents.
None was charged with terrorism-related activities.
A team of US lawyers representing Yemeni nationals detained at Guantanamo appealed to the Yemeni government last year to take visible steps to secure the release of its citizens.