[JURIST] Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Ahmed Ghailani [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to allegations of involvement in the 1998 bombings of US embassies [PBS backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in Tanzania and Kenya. The plea was delivered during his initial appearance before the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Having been held at the Guantanamo facility since 2006, Ghailani was transferred [JURIST report] to New York on Tuesday to face 286 separate counts including involvement in the bombings and conspiring with Osama bin Laden and other members of al Qaeda to kill Americans worldwide. His transfer marks the first time a detainee from the facility has been brought to the US for prosecution. If found guilty, Ghailani could face the death penalty [AFP report].
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] addressed national security concerns for bringing terrorism suspects into the US by releasing a fact sheet [press release] showing the government's past competence in detaining and prosecuting other alleged terrorists. The same New York federal court has previously indicted individuals for their role in the embassy bombings, including four defendants who were successfully sentenced to life in prison. The DOJ's announcement [JURIST report] last month that Ghailani would be tried in federal court followed the ordered review of all Guantanamo detainees pursuant to plans to close the detention facility [JURIST news archive].