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Tag: tanzania

U.S. Embassy Bomber Gets Life

Ghailani pictured upper right hand corner

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Convicted terrorist Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan for his role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which claimed the lives of 224 people and wounded thousands.

Ghailani, 36, is the first ex-Gitmo detainee to be prosecuted in civilian court. But his case raised anxieties on Capitol Hill and elsewhere over  the issue of trying Gitmo detainee cases in civilian courts after the government ran into some difficulties and only won convictions on 1 of 285 counts against Ghailani.

He was convicted Nov. 17 of conspiracy to destroy government buildings and property. Authorities charged that he helped in the preparation of the attack, which included buying TNT.

But despite the conviction on one count,  U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan handed him a life sentence,  and said, according to the New York Times: “The very purpose of the crime was to create terror by causing death and destruction.”

He is the fifth person to be convicted in connection with the embassy bombings.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara issued a statement following the sentencing, saying:

“Today, in Manhattan Federal Court, justice was served. Ahmed Ghailani is a remorseless terrorist, mass murderer, and Al Qaeda operative, and now he will spend the rest of his life in prison. As we said in court on the day this trial began, Ghailani was a vital member of the East African terror cell that murdered 224 innocent people and wounded thousands of others in the 1998 bombings of the American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Finally, twelve-and-a-half years after those devastating and despicable attacks, Ahmed Ghailani will pay for his crimes.

“This was a difficult case for a number of reasons. Our goal all along was to hold Ghailani accountable for his heinous conduct, and, no matter the obstacles, to see to it that he would receive the punishment he deserved. Today, our goal was achieved, as Ahmed Ghailani will never again breathe free air.”

“The reason we are at this point today is the extraordinary hard work done in difficult circumstances by a lot of people.  I salute the unflagging commitment, dedication, and talent of the FBI agents who so thoroughly investigated this case and the prosecutors who so ably tried it.”

“They spent years of their lives putting this case together — traveling around the world, interviewing hundreds of witnesses, and piecing together fragments of evidence from the bombed-out shells of two American embassies. I would like to personally thank the lawyers from my office who oversaw the prosecution — Michael Farbiarz, Nick Lewin, Harry Chernoff, and Sean Buckley. I would also like to thank the hard-working detectives of the NYPD and all our other partners in the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Tanzanian National Police, and the Kenyan Police for their exceptional work and assistance in this case.”

NY Juror in Gitmo Case Says She Feels Threatened by Fellow Jurors

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Big Apple.  Big trial. Big headache.

The latest big headache in the federal trial in New York of a Gitmo detainee surfaced Monday when a juror on the third day of deliberations, asked the judge to remove her, saying she felt threatened by fellow jurors because she was at odds with them on a verdict, the Associated Press reported.

“My conclusion is not going to change,” the juror wrote the judge, not indicating her position, according to AP. “I feel (I am being) attacked for my conclusion.”

AP noted that the note from the juror raised the possibility of a hung jury.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan called jurors into the courtroom, reminded them of his instructions and told them to continue deliberating, AP reported.

Juries are deliberating the fate of Ahmed Ghailani who is accused of helping al-Qaida buy a truck and components for explosives used in a suicide bombing in Tanzania in 1998. That, along with a simultaneous bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, killed 224 people, including 12 Americans, AP reported.

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Feds Won’t Appeal Witness Ban in NY Gitmo Trial

Judge Kaplan

Judge Kaplan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Saying they didn’t wish to delay the trial, federal prosecutors on Sunday said they won’t appeal a judge’s ruling that bans a key witness from testifying in the first criminal trial of Guantanamo Bay terrorism suspect, Reuters news service reported.

“The government . . . has decided not to pursue an appeal from the court’s decision,” said a letter from the New York U.S. Attorney’s Office to the presiding judge in the case, Reuters reported.

The letter said the government case is sufficient without the witness.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan cause a delay in the trial when he ruled that the witness, Hussein Abebe, couldn’t be used in the trial against Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who is accused of conspiring in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people, including a dozen Americans.

The judge ruled that the government discovered the name of the witness during a harsh interrogation of the defendant in an overseas jail run by the CIA. The government insisted it would have learned about Abebe even without the interrogation, an argument the judge rejected.

Prosecutors had said that the witness told FBI agents he had sold the defendant explosives for one of the bombings.

To read more click here.

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