Ex-Guantanamo detainee lawyers seek dismissal of charges for trial delay

[JURIST] Lawyers for former Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Ahmed Ghailani [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive] have filed a motion [text, PDF] to dismiss the charges against him, according to heavily redacted court documents made public Tuesday. Ghailani's lawyers argued that his right to a speedy trial was violated after he spent nearly five years in custody before being brought before a civilian court. The lawyers also argued that Ghailani was subjected to cruel interrogation methods at "black sites," or secret prisons operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] and was denied access to a lawyer. According to the motion, national security concerns should never "trump a defendant's Constitutional right to a Speedy Trial." A spokesperson for the prosecution declined to comment [NYT report], and prosecutors will be filing a response to the motion.

Ghailani faces charges for his alleged involvement in the 1998 bombings of US embassies [PBS backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in Tanzania and Kenya and is the first Guantanamo detainee to be brought to the US for prosecution. Last month, a federal judge ruled [opinion, PDF] that Ghailani does not have a right to be represented by his military defense lawyers [JURIST report] in a civilian court. In July, Ghailani's military lawyers requested access to the CIA "black sites" at which their client was held prior to his transfer to Guantanamo Bay. Having been held at the Guantanamo facility since 2006, Ghailani was transferred [JURIST report] to the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] in June 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. He pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] at his initial appearance.



 

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