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US to transfer Hamdan to Yemen before end of sentence: reports

[JURIST] Former Osama Bin Laden [JURIST news archive] driver Salim Ahmed Hamdan [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] will soon be transferred [SABA report] from US to Yemeni custody, according to US military sources quoted in media reports Monday. His transfer comes approximately one month before the end of a six-month jail term [JURIST report] he received for providing material support for terrorism [charge sheet, PDF]. Commentators suggest that the transfer may signal possible future cooperation [Washington Post report] between Yemeni and US officials, as the US had previously refused to transfer detainees to Yemen's custody. Hamdan's transfer also eliminates concerns that were raised when government lawyers said they could hold him indefinitely [JURIST report] after the end of his sentence. Hamdan is expected to remain in Yemeni custody until his original release date of December 27.

In October, a US military judge denied [ruling, PDF; JURIST report] a request [motion, PDF] by prosecutors that he reconsider a decision that reduced Hamdan's sentence [JURIST report] from five-and-a-half years to six months because of credit for time already served. Hamdan was initially taken into custody in 2001, and in 2006 he successfully challenged President George W. Bush's military commission system when the Supreme Court ruled [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that the commission system as initially construed violated US and international law. Congress subsequently passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [DOD materials], which established the current military commissions system.

10:03 PM ET - The Pentagon announced late Tuesday that Hamdan has been transferred to Yemen [press release], where he will serve the remainder of his sentence.

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