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First detainee transferred to US soil to face terrorism charges

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-09

The first Guantanamo Bay detainee to be transferred to US soil has arrived in New York to face terrorism charges for his alleged involvement in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

AFP - The first Guantanamo Bay detainee to be transferred to US soil arrived early Tuesday in New York to face terrorism charges, the Justice Department said.

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, an Al-Qaeda suspect from Tanzania held at Guantanamo since 2006, arrived at the Metropolitan Correctional Center to face charges over his alleged involvement in the 1998 bombing of two US embassies in Africa.

He was expected to make his first appearance in a Manhattan federal court on Tuesday, according to Attorney General Eric Holder.

"With his appearance in federal court today, Ahmed Ghailani is being held accountable for his alleged role in the bombing of US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and the murder of 224 people," Holder said in a statement.

"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."

Ghailani faces 286 counts of murder, conspiracy to murder, bomb and maim, and conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against US nationals, charges for which he could receive the death penalty.

According to the indictment from March 2001, Ghailani also conspired with Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and other Qaeda members to kill Americans.

US President Barack Obama has vowed to close down the Guantanamo detention center by January 2010, and hopes other countries will take in some of the 50 detainees so far cleared for release.

An Algerian national has been taken in by France, while an Ethiopian-born British resident was returned to Britain, but finding new homes for the rest has proven to be difficult.

Many leaders of countries who called for the facility to be shut down have refused to harbor its former inmates.

The US Congress has opposed moves to let them stay in the United States.
 

Date created : 2009-06-09