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GITMO Detainee Arrives in NYC for Trial

In the first test of the Administration's promise to close the terrorist detention camp in Cuba and bring suspected terrorists to trial in criminal courts, Ahmed Ghailani has been shipped to New York City. The first "interesting" quote is:

A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the case, told The Associated Press that Ahmed Ghailani arrived in the early morning hours Tuesday, to be held in U.S. law enforcement custody until his trial in New York City.

Brought to the US in the custody of the US Marshals Services, Ghailani is charged with conspiring with Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda members to kill Americans anywhere in the world. Separately he is charged with murder for the deaths of each of the 224 people killed in the August 7, 1998, U.S. Embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya.

Ghailan is being held in lower Manhattan (presumably in a place known as the "Tombs") to await trial. In his press release, Attorney General Eric Holder said:

"The Justice Department has a long history of securely detaining and successfully prosecuting terror suspects through the criminal justice system, and we will bring that experience to bear in seeking justice in this case."

On the one hand, this case pits the Administration's position that detaining suspected terrorists in a Camp at Guantanamo prevents or inhibits their being brought to trial, and having justice served. Still, the concern is that under trial in a US court, terrorists will be tried as criminals and benefit from the US system. Ghailani is said to have helped build one of the bombs that exploded at the US Embassies, but also left Africa before the bombings happened on August 7, 1998. After the bombings he worked for al Qaeda as a document forger, a trainer in terrorist training camps and even as a body guard for bin Laden.

It will be interesting to see this scenario unfold. Will the media be given access to the trial and will pictures be plastered across the front pages of newspapers? Somehow, in considering the guilt or innocence of known al Qaeda terrorists, it is difficult to accept the equivalency of dead and maimed victims and a trial under American juris prudence.

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