x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Guantanamo detainee arrives in US

The first detainee at Guantanamo Bay to be transferred to US soil arrives in New York to face terrorism charges.

WASHINGTON // The first detainee at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to be transferred to US soil arrived early today in New York to face terrorism charges, the Justice Department said. Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, from Tanzania, held at Guantanamo since 2006, arrived at the Metropolitan Correctional Center to face charges stemming from his involvement in the 1998 bombing of two US embassies in Africa. He was expected to make his first appearance in a Manhattan federal court today, according to the 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," Mr 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."

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 the al Qa'eda leader Osama bin Laden and other al Qa'eda members to kill Americans. The 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. *AFP