The United States transferred the first detainee from the Guantanamo Bay prison on Tuesday to stand trial in a U.S. civilian court in a test case for President Barack Obama’s plans to close the controversial prison for foreign terrorism suspects.
Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian held at the U.S. naval base in Cuba since 2006 accused of involvement in the bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa, arrived in New York escorted by U.S. marshals, the Department of Justice said.
Ghailani faces 286 counts, including charges of conspiring with Osama bin Laden and other members of al Qaeda to kill Americans anywhere in the world, and separate charges of murder for each of the 224 people killed in the bombings in Tanzania and Kenya on August 7, 1998.
He was to be arraigned in a Manhattan court at 4 p.m. EDT.
The administration view: “The Southern District of New York has a long record of successfully prosecuting terror cases. … In order to close the Guantanamo Bay facility and to strengthen our security, we must break the logjam that has kept the detainees in legal limbo since its construction. For over seven years, we have detained hundreds of people at Guantanamo. … Today represents a significant step forward in bringing swift and certain justice to the detainees at Guantanamo. And it is a first step. Experienced prosecutors continue to review the status of each detainee at Guantanamo, and there will be more indictments and trials in the weeks to come for those who have committed crimes against the United States or conspired to.”