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Last Updated: Monday, 18 July, 2005, 17:30 GMT 18:30 UK
Guantanamo trials to resume soon
A US soldier at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
Four inmates at the camp have been charged so far
The Pentagon will move ahead as quickly as possible with military trials of two Guantanamo Bay prisoners, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said.

His comments come after a US appeals court ruled on Friday that the trials for detainees at the jail were lawful.

Mr Rumsfeld hailed the verdict as an "advance in the global struggle against extremists" and a help in "the effort to protect innocent life".

The US will bring charges against eight more inmates, the Pentagon chief added.

Of the 540 inmates at Guantanamo, four have been charged. Of the rest, some will be released and many more will be held indefinitely.

Bin Laden's driver

Mr Rumsfeld did not name the two individuals whose trials will be resumed.

But he referred to one as a person who "served as a personal bodyguard and driver for Osama Bin Laden," the Associated Press reports.

On Friday the appeals court in Washington ruled that the trial of a former driver for the al-Qaeda leader could go ahead.

Salim Ahmed Hamdan, from Yemen, is accused of conspiracy to commit war crimes, including terrorism.

A judge halted his trial last year, saying it could not proceed until a decision had been made on whether he was a prisoner of war under the Geneva Conventions.

Mr Hamdan contested his status as "enemy combatant", and his lawyers were seeking to force US authorities to try him in a civilian court, arguing that the military tribunals were illegal under US law.

However, the appeals court judges ruled that the 1949 convention on the rights of prisoners of war did not apply to members of al-Qaeda.

Mr Hamdan can still take his case to a full hearing of the Appeals Court and from there to the Supreme Court.

Mr Hamdan worked for Bin Laden in Afghanistan from 1997 until the US attack in Afghanistan in 2001. He denies being a member of al-Qaeda.




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