8 Aug 2008

Defence team condemns sentence for bin Laden's driver

5:10 pm on 8 August 2008

The sentence handed down to Osama bin Laden's former driver in Guantanamo Bay has been described as a damning indictment by the defence team.

A day after being convicted of supporting terrorism, Salem Hamdan has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison by a United States military jury at the prison camp.

Lieutenant Commander Brian Mizer, who was on Hamdan's defence team, says the sentence is only a fraction of the 30 years the prosecution was demanding and shows how flawed the trial has been.

The judge gave Hamdan credit for 61 months, so he could be out in five months. But the Pentagon has indicated it has no plans to release him after he completes his sentence.

The US government has argued it can detain Hamdan and other "enemy combatants" indefinitely as long as the war on terrorism continues.