January 21, 2011
Ghailani Verdict Upheld: Former Gitmo Detainee Sentencing Next Week
As predicted, the conviction of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, the first Guantanamo detainee to be transferred to the United States for trial, was upheld this morning by a federal court judge in New York. Judge Lewis Kaplan this morning issued a 56-page opinion explaining why he’s convinced there is sufficient evidence to support Ghailani’s conviction on one count of Conspiracy to Destroy Government Property, and why there were no errors at trial that prejudiced the jury against the defendant. As I explained yesterday, Ghailani’s lawyers argued that there was insufficient evidence to support the one count on which he was convicted, that the verdict was internally inconsistent, and that the judge made a prejudicial error in charging the jury. Judge Kaplan rejected all of those arguments today. Ghailani faces 25 years to life in prison. His sentencing hearing begins next Tuesday. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, more than 400 people have been convicted on terrorism-related charges in U.S. federal courts. Only five have been convicted in military commissions. For some inexplicable reason, the Obama administration intends to resume prosecutions in the Guantanamo Bay military commissions.