November 7, 2004

Court Ruling Halts Guantanamo Hearings

By PAISLEY DODDS, Associated Press Writer

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - A U.S. federal court halted proceedings ahead of the military trial of Osama bin Laden (news - web sites)'s driver Monday, saying his status as an enemy combatant had to be determined by a competent tribunal.

It was the first time a federal court has halted proceedings ahead of trials before U.S. military commissions, which had been resurrected from World War II.

A U.S. District Court judge in Washington halted the trial of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, 34, of Yemen, in a lawsuit filed by his lawyers.

"Unless and until a competent tribunal determines that petitioner is not entitled to protections afforded prisoners of war under Article 4 of the Geneva Convention ... of Aug. 12, 1949, he may not be tried by military commission for the offenses with which he is charged," U.S. District Judge James Robertson said in his ruling

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