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Detainees’ rights debated as Guantanamo trial begins

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The first war crimes trial to be held by the United States since World War II began on Monday, when Yemeni national Selim Ahmed Hamdan appeared before a military court in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The case proceeds despite continuing debate in Washington over detainees' legal rights in the wake of last month's Supreme Court ruling that allowed those in custody to challenge their detention in civilian courts.

Military prosecutors in Guantánamo accuse Mr. Hamdan of being the personal driver of Osama Bin Laden and having extensive inside knowledge of Al Qaeda. But his defense attorneys deny that charge and say that his interrogation in Afghanistan and at Guantánamo was conducted under duress, according to the BBC.

Prosecutors say he belonged to Osama Bin Laden's inner circle, and was heading for a battle zone when he was arrested, allegedly with two surface-to-air missiles inside his car.
Mr Hamdan has acknowledged working for Bin Laden in Afghanistan from 1997 to 2001 for $200 (£99) a month, but denies being part of al-Qaeda or taking part in any attacks.
Mr Hamdan's defence lawyers have argued that the statements were tainted by what have been called "coercive techniques," and he was not advised of his right against self-incrimination.
His lawyers have tried to halt the trial on grounds of legality.

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