Federal judge refuses to drop charges against ex-Guantanamo detainee

[JURIST] A federal judge on Monday refused to dismiss criminal charges against former Guantanamo Bay detainee Ahmed Ghailani [GlobalSecurity profile; JURIST news archive], despite his lawyers claims that he had been tortured in prison. Judge Lewis Kaplan of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) [official website] said that even if Ghailani was mistreated [NYT report] while in Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] custody, there was no connection between that and the current prosecution. Kaplan made no finding on whether Ghailani was subjected to torture. Kaplan has yet to rule on a motion to dismiss charges because of a violation of Ghailani's speedy trial rights [JURIST report].

Ghailani faces charges for his 1998 involvement in the bombings of US embassies [PBS backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in Kenya and Tanzania which killed 224 people. Last week, Kaplan ruled that Ghailani must attend the opening of his trial [JURIST report], requiring him to submit to strip searches he claims are traumatic. In November, Kaplan ruled 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 [JURIST report] to the CIA "black sites" at which their client was held prior to his transfer to Guantanamo Bay and was allegedly subjected to cruel interrogation methods. Ghailani was the first Guantanamo detainee to be brought to the US for prosecution. Having been held at the Guantanamo facility since 2006, Ghailani was transferred [JURIST report] to the SDNY 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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