[JURIST] The lawyers for terrorism suspect Ahmed Ghailani [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday requested access to secret prisons [JURIST news archive] operated by the Central Intelligence Agency [official website] at which their client was held prior to his transfer to Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. The motion asks Judge Lewis Kaplan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] to grant them access to "black sites" where they allege Ghailani was subjected to physical and psychological mistreatment. The lawyers said that evidence at the facilities must be preserved in light of the CIA's April decision to close secret prisons [JURIST report].
Ghailani, who faces charges for his alleged involvement in the 1998 bombings of US embassies [PBS backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in Tanzania and Kenya, is the first Guantanamo detainee to be brought to the US for prosecution. Having been held at the Guantanamo facility since 2006 following his 2004 arrest in Pakistan, Ghailani was transferred [JURIST report] to the US last month to face 286 separate counts including involvement in the bombings and conspiring with members of al Qaeda to kill Americans worldwide. He pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] at his initial appearance. In a rare move [JURIST op-ed] last month, Kaplan tentatively granted [JURIST report] Ghailani's request that his military lawyers be allowed to represent him in civilian court. The announcement [JURIST report] that Ghailani would be tried in federal court came last month following the ordered review of all Guantanamo detainees pursuant to plans to close the detention facility [JURIST news archive].