A senior administration official is praising yesterday’s federal jury conviction of Ahmed Ghailani, who was found guilty of conspiracy and will be sentenced between a minimum of 20 years without possibility of parole to life in prison. The official notes that the conviction shows that the federal courts are up to the task of prosecuting suspected terrorists, a sentiment Human Rights First is calling on the Obama Administration to echo with regard to the federal trials of other Guantanamo detainees.
The senior administration official told ABC News:
“He was convicted by a jury of a count which carries a 20-year minimum sentence. He will very likely be sentenced to something closer to life. (The judge can, and very likely will, take into account things that the jury did not, and he can and will consider conduct that the jury found him not guilty of — e.g., murder). He will never be paroled (there is no parole in the federal system). There are very few federal crimes that carry a mandatory MINIMUM of 20 years. What that means is that he was convicted of a crime that is a very big deal.
“So, we tried a guy (who the Bush Admin tortured and then held at GTMO for 4-plus years with no end game whatsoever) in a federal court before a NY jury with full transparency and international legitimacy and — despite all of the legacy problems of the case (i.e., evidence getting thrown out because of Bush-Admin torture, etc,) we were STILL able to convict him and INCAPACITATE him for essentially the rest of his natural life, AND there was not one — not one — security problem associated with the trial.”
“Would it have been better optically if he had been convicted of more counts? Sure. Would it have made any practical difference? No.”
To read Human Rights First’s reaction to the verdict visit http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/media/usls/2010/alert/691/index.htm.
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