Thursday, November 18, 2010

Guantánamo detainee Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani cleared of 284 terror charges

Setback for Obama as first former Guantánamo detainee to be tried in civilian court is convicted on just one of 285 charges

Chris McGreal
Guardian

Barack Obama's plans to try accused terrorists in civilian courts experienced a major setback last night when the first former Guantánamo detainee to be tried in one was convicted on just one of 285 charges over the 1998 attack on US embassies in East Africa which killed 224 people.

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a 36-year-old Tanzanian, was found guilty of conspiracy to destroy US government buildings and property for helping an al-Qaida cell to buy a lorry and bomb parts in the attacks on the American embassies in Kenya and Dar-es-Salaam. But a US federal jury acquitted him of all the more serious charges of murder and conspiracy.


Ghailani faces 20 years to life in prison when he is sentenced in January. He had already been told that even if he was acquitted on all counts he would not be freed so long as America remains "at war" with al-Qaida.

However, the verdict is an embarrassment for US prosecutors who maintained that Ghailani played an important logistical role in the attacks but were unable to persuade a jury which showed signs of serious disagreement during deliberations, with one juror asking to be excused because of differences with other jurors. The judge, Lewis Kaplan, refused.

The failure to convict Ghailani on the more serious charges is also a blow to Obama's attempts to persuade a sceptical Congress and security establishment that civilian trials are better than the widely condemned military tribunals held at the Guantánamo detention centre. The trial was considered a test run.

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2 comments:

King of the Paupers said...

"Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a 36-year-old Tanzanian, was found guilty of conspiracy to destroy US government buildings and property for helping an al-Qaida cell to buy..."
Jct: So he didn't actually "do" anything wrong, he just "wanted to do" something wrong. Convicted for supporting the other team. Big crime.

Anonymous said...

"He had already been told that even if he was acquitted on all counts he would not be freed so long as America remains "at war" with al-Qaida."

WTF? Al-CIADA? is that some kind of COUNTRY? How can a COUNTRY be at WAR with an organization of dubious origin (apart from the fact that it was created and funded by the Yanqui CIA) which obviously is going to survive into the next millenium, given that it has survived the TRILLIONS of dollars spent trying to eradicate it. Or maybe that money wasn't spent for that end...

And what is laughable is that the Yanquis are trying to apply THEIR laws on OTHER sovereign nations.

NOT SO ANONYMOUS. -- rust

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