Navy judge finds driver's charges constitutional

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- A Navy judge on Wednesday rejected a bid by Osama bin Laden's driver to have his charges dismissed because, his lawyers claimed, they did not exist as war crimes at the time of his November 2001 capture in Afghanistan.

Lawyers for Salim Hamdan, 37, accused of material support for terror and conspiracy, had asked the judge to dismiss his case, invoking the constitutional right against ''ex post facto'' application of law.

Congress defined the charges as war crimes in the 2006 Military Commissions Act that set up the Guantánamo war court, where so far 20 detainees here face possible charges. Seven could be executed, if convicted, although not Hamdan, for whom the maximum punishment is life in prison.

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