Former Guantanamo detainee gets life sentence

09:10, January 26, 2011      

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A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced the first Guantanamo Bay detainee to be tried in a civilian court to life in prison for his role in the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa.

The 36-year-old Ahmed Ghailani was convicted on Nov. 17 of a single count of conspiracy to destroy government buildings and property.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of United States District Court delivered the maximum sentence: life with no parole. And he rejected the defense's request that Ghailani should have received a lesser sentence.

Ahmed Ghailani, a Tanzanian accused of a key role in the killing of 224 people during the bombings against two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, is the first former Guantanamo Bay detainee to be tried on terror charges in civilian court.

Ghailani was listed on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list from the time it was created in 2001 until he was captured in Pakistan in 2004.

He was taken to the Guantanamo Bay detention facilities in Cuba in 2006, where he remained until the Obama administration transferred him on June 9, 2009 to the New York federal court to stand trial for his alleged role in the embassy bombing.

The Ghailani case was considered a test for the Obama administration, which had maintained that terrorists like Ghailani can safely be tried, convicted and sentenced in U.S. civilian courts.

U.S. President Barack Obama vowed to close Guantanamo Bay within a year when he took office in January 2009. But the prison is still open after two years.

Source: Xinhua

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