미국 군사법정에서 최초로 정식 재판을 받은 살림 함단 피고에게 군 장교들로 구성된 배심원단의 유죄 평결이 내려졌습니다. 배심원단은 살림 함단의 혐의 중 테러 지원에 대해 유죄를 인정했으나 테러공격 모의 혐의에 대해서는 무죄 평결을 내렸습니다.

미군 군사법정의 배심원인 군 장교 6명이 국제 테러조직 알카에다의 지도자인 오사마 빈 라덴의 운전기사였던 테러용의자 살림 함단에 대해 평결을 내렸습니다. 군 검찰은 함단 피고를 빈 라덴의 핵심 측근이라고 지적했지만, 함단의 변호인단은 그가 가족을 부양하기 위해 빈 라덴의 운전기사 직을 택했던 가난한 사람이었다고 반론을 제기했습니다.

하지만 올해 서른 일곱 살인 함단은 아프가니스탄에서 체포될 당시 자동차 안에 지대공 미사일 두 기를 싣고 있었던 혐의에 대해 유죄 평결을 받았습니다.

쿠바 관타나모 미 해군기지의 테러용의자 수용소 인근에 새로 건설된 군사법원의 군 장교 배심원 6명은 사흘에 걸쳐 8시간 동안 심의한 끝에 이같은 평결에 도달했습니다.변호인단은 함단이 구금 중에 학대를 받았으며 심문관들에게 협조했었다고 주장했습니다. 초등학교 4년의 교육 밖에 받지 못한 함단은 평결문이 낭독되는 동안 울고 있었다고 미국의 `AP통신'이 보도했습니다.

이에 앞서 함단의 혐의에 대한 배심원들의 심의가 진행되는 동안 미 국방부의 조프 모렐 대변인은 정부 관계자들이 이번 재판 과정에 만족해 하고 있다고 말했습니다.

모렐 대변인은 재판 과정이 공정하고 투명하게 진행되고 기자들이 방청해 과정을 지켜볼수 있었음을 강조하면서, 군사법정의 첫 번째 정식 재판에서 좋은 결과가 나왔다고 말했습니다.

백악관도 6일성명을 통해 함단에 대한 재판이 공정했으며 군사법정의 과정이 적절하고 공정했다고 밝혔습니다.

그러나 인권단체들은 국방부 등과는 전혀 다른 견해를 밝혔습니다. 미국 뉴욕에 본부를 둔 국제 인권단체인 휴먼 라이츠 워치의 스테이시 설리번 씨는 관타나모 군사법정 재판을 방청한 뒤 함단에 대한 재판이 공정하고 개방된 절차라고 규정할 수 없다고 말했습니다.

설리번 씨는 함단에 대한 재판이 시작되기도 전에 평결은 이미 내려져 있었다고 주장했습니다. 또한 국방부의 군사위원회에는 근본적인 적법 절차 보장이 결여돼 있어 함단 피고에게는 공정한 재판을 받을 수 있는 실질적 기회가 주어지지 않았다고 말했습니다.

함단은 선고가 내려지면 고등 군사법원에 항소할 수 있으며, 이어 미국 민간법원에도 항소할 수 있습니다.

한편, 미 국방부의 조프 모렐 대변인은 관타나모 수용소의 테러용의자 약2백65명 가운데 연례 심사과정을 거쳐 약 1백 명이 석방될 수 있으며 약 20 명은 군사법정의 재판을 받게 될 것이라면서, 나머지 수감자들은 기소와 재판 없이 무기한 구금될 것이라고 말했습니다. 무기한 수감되는 테러용의자들은 그들이 국제사회에 제기하는 위협 때문에 석방될 수 없을 것이라고 모렐 대변인은 밝혔습니다.

그러나 휴먼 라이츠 워치의 스테이시 설리번 씨는 이같은 국방부의 견해를 반박했습니다.

만약에 누군가가 그토록 위험하다면 관련 증거와 정보를 입수해서 용의자를 재판에 회부하기가 어려울 것이 없다는 것입니다. 설리번 씨는 미국은 용의자를 기소도 하지 않은 채 구금하는 나라가 아니며 그렇게 하는 것은 미국의 가치관에 근본적으로 배치된다고 말했습니다.

휴먼 라이츠 워치는 다른 인권단체들과 마찬가지로 관타나모 수용소의 테러용의자들은 정식으로 기소되던가 아니면 석방돼야 한다고 주장합니다. 또한 기소된 용의자들은 특별히 설치된 군사위원회가 아닌 일반 민간법정이나 군 법정에서 재판을 받아야 한다고 밝히고 있습니다. 

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A U.S. military jury at Guantanamo Bay has convicted Osama Bin Laden's former driver of providing material support to terrorism, but acquitted him on a charge of conspiracy, which alleged he was a key member of the Al-Qaida terrorist network. Still, he could face life in prison as the military trial moves into its sentencing phase. VOA's Al Pessin reports from the Pentagon.

In this first Guantanamo case to go to trial, the six military officers split their verdict on the charges against Salim Hamdan, who the prosecution portrayed as a member of Bin Laden's inner circle and the defense claimed was a poor man who took a job as a driver in order to feed his family.

The 37-year-old who is reported to have only four years of schooling was found guilty, among other things, of transporting two surface-to-air missiles in the trunk of the car he was driving when he was captured in Afghanistan. That was during the U.S.-led invasion that followed the attacks of September 11, 2001. He was transferred to Guantanamo about six months later.

The verdict was delivered after eight hours of deliberation over three days at a multi-million-dollar legal complex built earlier this year on the U.S. Navy Base at Guantanamo, not far from the detention center where Hamdan and hundreds of other alleged terrorists are held.

The U.S. military lawyers appointed to defend Hamdan claim he was abused while in custody, and that he cooperated with his interrogators. The Associated Press reports from Guantanamo that Hamdan put his head in his hands and wept as the verdict was read.

The military commissions process has been controversial since it was created by the U.S. Congress four years ago, and the original structure was struck down by the Supreme Court. It is the first such process the United States has conducted since World War II, and it is designed, in part, to ensure that U.S. military secrets are not revealed in the course of the trials.

While the Hamdan jury was deliberating, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said officials were pleased with how the two-week trial had been handled.

"We think that you've seen a fair and transparent process in which journalists were on hand, allowed to see the process, in which the defendant was offered a vigorous defense by his counsel, in which the prosecutor was able to make his case," Morrell said. "It was a good first effort, or so it seems at this point. And we hope it is the beginning of at least 20 additional trials that will hopefully take place sooner than later down there."

A White House statement Wednesday said the Hamdan trial was "fair" and said the military commissions process is "fair and appropriate." Human rights groups have a sharply different view.

"I don't think there's any way you could characterize it as a fair and open process," said
Stacy Sullivan of Human Rights Watch. Sullivan is just back from Guantanamo, where she and other activists were able to observe the Hamdan trial.

"I think the verdict in this trial was in before the trial even started," she said. "The military commissions lack such fundamental due process guarantees that we don't think that Hamdan ever actually had a chance to have a fair trial."

Sullivan says the court's security officer blocked observers from hearing much of the key evidence because the U.S. military classified it as secret, including some of the interrogation methods used on Hamdan.

Once the sentence is imposed, Hamdan can appeal the verdict to another military panel, and then to a U.S. civilian court. But whatever the sentence, Hamdan faces another obstacle to ever being released. A separate military process has determined that he is an "enemy combatant," and he would have to convince an annual review board that he is no longer a danger to the United States in order to become eligible for release.

About 265 alleged terrorists are in the same situation at Guantanamo. The Pentagon spokesman, Geoff Morrell, says a hundred or so may be released through the annual review process, and about 20 will be tried in military commissions. But he says the rest may be held for an indefinite period without being charged or tried.

"There is still a significant population within Guantanamo who will likely never be released because of the threat they pose to the world, for that matter," Morrell said.

The Pentagon says it either cannot get sufficient evidence against those detainees, or the evidence it has is so sensitive it cannot even be presented in secret to a military commission. Stacy Sullivan at Human Rights Watch rejects those arguments.

"If somebody is too dangerous to release, I don't think it should be too hard to find out why, gather information and build a case against them and charge them," Sullivan said. "We're not a country that holds people indefinitely without charge. It so fundamentally opposes American values."

Like other human rights groups, Human Rights Watch says all the detainees at Guantanamo should be either formally charged or released, and if they are charged they should be tried in regular U.S. civilian or military courts rather than the specially-created military commissions.