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WASHINGTON(AP) -- An Obama administration official says a top Al Qaeda suspect held at Guantanamo Bay will be sent to New York City for trial.
Ahmed Ghailani would be the first Guantanamo detainee brought to the U.S., and the first to face trial in a civilian criminal court.
An official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to disclose the decision, tells The Associated Press that the administration has decided to bring Ghailani to trial in New York...
WASHINGTON — A suspected al-Qaeda militant accused in the deadly 1998 bombings of American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya will be tried in a civilian court in New York, making him the first Guantánamo Bay detainee to be tried in an American civilian court, the Justice Department said Thursday.
“By prosecuting Ahmed Ghailani in federal court, we will ensure that he finally answers for his alleged role in the bombing of our embassies in Tanzania and Kenya,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
The decision to try Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani in New York stemmed directly from the review ordered by President Obama in January of the cases of all 240 terror suspects held at the Guantánamo detention center. Mr. Obama is scheduled to give what the White House has billed as a major speech on the handling of the detainees on Thursday morning.
The administration has encountered unexpectedly stiff opposition to moving some of the detainees to the United States, including overwhelming votes in both the House and Senate to oppose appropriating funds to close the Guantánamo Bay detention center.
Mr. Ghailani’s case is probably one of the easier one to bring to the forefront. He faces charges in a pre-Sept. 11 crime; no one charged with Sept. 11 crimes has yet been tried in an American civilian court. The case against him also appears well-developed. And New York City has experience with terrorist trials....
...Trying to calm concerns and retake the initiative in the detainee debate, President Obama is scheduled to give a major address on national security and on his philosophy about detaining terror suspects at Guantánamo at the National Archives on Thursday.
According to administration officials, he will contend that the Bush administration’s policies were an “ad hoc legal approach for fighting terrorism that was neither effective nor sustainable — a framework that failed to trust in our institutions, and that failed to use our values as a compass.”