Pentagon: Another American Taliban in custody
CNN Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Taliban detainee held by U.S. forces in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is a U.S. citizen, a top Pentagon source told CNN Wednesday.
The man, identified as Yasser Esam Hamdi, is the second American citizen -- the other is John Walker Lindh, now in U.S. civilian custody -- captured in Afghanistan alongside Taliban and al Qaeda fighters last fall.
The detainee's parents were Saudi nationals employed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where Hamdi was born, the official said. The family moved back to Saudi Arabia when the detainee was a toddler, the official said.
According to a defense official, the prisoner has claimed that he was born in Baton Rouge since his capture. U.S. forces apprehended him and Walker Lindh following a foiled prison uprising last November in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif.
The man produced a U.S. birth certificate, and the Department of Justice has confirmed to the Pentagon that the document is genuine, the defense official said.
"This does not affect our ability to hold this individual as a battlefield detainee," said the official.
Walker Lindh, 21, spent several weeks in U.S. military custody in Afghanistan and on warships in the Arabian Sea before being handed over to law enforcement authorities last January.
He is charged with conspiring to murder U.S. nationals, providing support to terrorist organizations and using firearms and destructive devices during crimes of violence. His trial will begin August 26 in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.
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