First Guantanamo Bay Detainee to Stand Trial in US
In a reversal of Bush administration policy, the first Guantanamo detainee was transferred Tuesday to U.S. soil for trial on capital terrorism charges.
Ahmed Ghailani, a Tanzanian who is about 35, pleaded not guilty during an appearance in federal court in New York City to embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania almost 11 years ago.
The first Guantanamo Bay detainee to come to the United States pleaded not guilty Tuesday in federal court to charges of conspiracy and murder stemming from his alleged role in the 1998 bombing attacks at two U.S. embassies in Africa.
Tanzanian national Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who had been held since September 2006 at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba until his transfer to New York City Tuesday morning, entered the courtroom in lower Manhattan wearing a light blue tunic over an orange prison shirt and blue pants
Ahmed Ghailani Transferred from Guantanamo Bay to New York for Prosecution on Terror Charges
Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian national who had been held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility since September 2006, arrived early this morning in the Southern District of New York to face criminal charges stemming from his alleged role in the Aug. 7, 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya.
After a thorough review of his case by the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force, Ghailani was recently referred for criminal prosecution in the Southern District of New York pursuant to a March 12, 2001 superseding indictment against him.
Ghailani was transferred from the custody of the Department of Defense to the Southern District of New York by the U.S. Marshals Service. He is currently in custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, which has housed numerous terror suspects over the years during their prosecutions in the Southern District of New York. Ghailani is expected to make his initial appearance in Manhattan federal court later today.
Ghailani faces 286 separate counts in the March 2001 superseding indictment. Among other violations, the superseding indictment charges him with conspiring with Usama bin Laden and other members of al-Qaeda to kill Americans anywhere in the world, as well as separate charges of murder for the deaths of each of the 224 people killed in the U.S. Embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya and various other offenses related to the bombings.
"With his appearance in federal court today, Ahmed Ghailani is being held accountable for his alleged role in the bombing of U.S. Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and the murder of 224 people," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "The Justice Department has a long history of securely detaining and successfully prosecuting terror suspects through the criminal justice system, and we will bring that experience to bear in seeking justice in this case."
The chart below details the charges against Ghailani and the statutory maximum penalties. The public is reminded that the charges and allegations contained in the superseding indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Count(s) Description of Charge Maximum Penalties
Counts 1 – 6: Conspiracies to Murder, Bomb, and Maim
1 Conspiracy to Kill U.S. Nationals Life
2 Conspiracy to Murder, Kidnap, and Maim At Places Outside the United States Life
3 Conspiracy to Murder Life
4 Conspiracy to Use Weapons of Mass Destruction Against U.S. Nationals Death or life
5 Conspiracy to Destroy Buildings and Property of the United States Life (mandatory minimum of 20 years)
6 Conspiracy to Attack National Defense Utilities 10 years
Counts 7 – 286: The Africa Bombings
7 Bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya Death or life (mandatory minimum of 20 years)
8 Bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Death or life (mandatory minimum of 20 years)
9 Use and Attempted Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction Against U.S. Nationals in Nairobi, Kenya Death or life
10 Use and Attempted Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction Against U.S. Nationals in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Death or life
11–223 Murders in Nairobi, Kenya Death or mandatory life
224–234 Murders in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Death or mandatory life
235–275 Murder of U.S. Employees in Nairobi, Kenya Death or mandatory life
276 Attempted Murder of U.S. Employees in Nairobi, Kenya 20 years
277–278 Murder of U.S. Employees in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Death or mandatory life
279 Attempted Murder of U.S. Employees in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 20 years
280–281 Murder of Internationally Protected Persons in Nairobi, Kenya Death or mandatory life
282 Attempted Murder of Internationally Protected Persons in Nairobi, Kenya 20 years
283 Attempted Murder of Internationally Protected Persons in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 20 years
284 Using and Carrying An Explosive During the Commission of A Felony 10 years consecutive
285 Using and Carrying A Dangerous Device During the Bombing Of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya 30 years consecutive
286 Using and Carrying A Dangerous Device During the Bombing Of the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Life or 30 years consecutive