US: First Guantanamo civilian trial delivers string of acquittals, and a conviction

Ahmad Ghaliani

A civilian jury has acquitted a former Guantanamo Bay inmate on multiple terror charges, but convicted him for plotting to bomb the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. Among other charges, the defendant was cleared of 276 counts of attempted murder, due in part to key evidence being deemed inadmissible by the court.

We respect the jury’s verdict and are pleased that Ahmed Ghailani now faces a minimum of 20 years in prison and a potential life sentence for his role in the embassy bombings,” a spokesman for the US justice department said after the trial.

Critics of President Barack Obama‘s policy of trying Guantanamo Bay detainees in civilian courts, rather than by military tribunal, say the trial has highlighted the flaws in this strategy.

We are at war with al Qaeda,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said after the verdict was announced. “Members of the organization, and their associates, should be treated as warriors, not common criminals. We put our nation at risk by criminalizing the war.”

Ahmed Ghailani‘s case had been chosen for civilian trial, in part, because it was deemed one where a conviction was considered particularly probable. A further 174 terror suspects are being held at the military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, awaiting trial.

Going forward, I once again strongly encourage the Obama administration to use military commissions to prosecute enemy combatants, particularly the 9/11 conspirators like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,” Senator Graham said.

via First Guantanamo civilian trial delivers string of acquittals, and a conviction | World | Deutsche Welle | 18.11.2010.

There is a debate about whether Ghaliani could face a life sentence. If that’s so, then supporters of civil trials (as the ones linked), consider that military trials won’t be necessary for other GITMO inmates. But the trial has lacked of some evidence that should have been shown at trial as pointed out by Flopping Aces:

They couldn’t introduce the man who sold explosives to Ghailani. They couldn’t introduce the fact that he admitted to the charges.

I don’t think either these guys are normal convicts. They are not like shoplifters or ordinary murders. So, their consideration as “civil guys” is something I don’t really understand. Of course, they should be tried, and as soon as possible. But not by whatever means.

NOTE: I can’t watch the video FA has inside as it has a restriction here that prevents us from watching it.

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