2011-01-25 Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani is sentenced to life in prison

The New York Times reported today on former Guantánamo Bay detainee Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani. On Tuesday, Ghailani was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his role in the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in East Africa. Ghailani is the first former Guantánamo detainee to be tried in the civilian court system.

Lewis A. Kaplan of the US District Court wrote of the evidence that Ghailani had been acquitted of more than 280 charges of murder and conspiracy:

Mr. Ghailani knew and intended that people would be killed as a result of his own actions and the conspiracy he joined.

Mr. Ghailani, 36, was convicted on November 17 of a single count of conspiracy to destroy government buildings and property. After over two months of deliberation, judge Kaplan handed down the sentencing earlier today.

From the NYT:

Mr. Ghailani’s lawyers had argued for leniency, citing what they say was the torture that Mr. Ghailani suffered while he was being detained in a “black site” run by the C.I.A. after his capture. They contended that he had also provided “extraordinarily valuable information and intelligence” while in the agency’s custody.

To our knowledge, the lawyers wrote, no prior defendant has ever stood before a court of the United States and asked the court to fashion a reasonable sentence by taking into consideration the pattern of torture inflicted upon him by a government-sponsored program.

The article concludes with this quote from Judge Kaplan:

No matter how Mr. Ghailani was treated while in detention, the impact on him pales in comparison to the suffering and the horror he and his confederates caused.

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