Last week, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, 36, the first suspect transferred from Guantanamo military prison to stand a civilian trial was found guilty of only 1 of the 285 charges brought against him – a charge relating to involvement in the 1998 bombing of the American Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.
Prosecutors branded Ghailani a cold-blooded terrorist, but the defense portrayed him as a clueless errand boy, exploited by senior al-Qaida operatives and framed by evidence from contaminated crime scenes. Ghailani was convicted of one count of conspiracy to destroy U.S. property. He faces a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of life in prison at sentencing on Jan. 25.
Only one charge was successfully prosecuted because civil courts don’t look kindly upon the involvement of torture in extracting testimony for evidence.
From the New York Times:
Many observers attributed any weakness in the prosecution’s case to the fact that the Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of United States District Court in Manhattan, who presided over the trial, refused to allow prosecutors to introduce testimony from an important witness, who was discovered after interrogators used coercive techniques on Mr. Ghailani.
If this trial is a precedent for other trials of Gitmo detainees to follow, prosecutions are going to have a tough time of it.
The extent of torture used by American powers across the globe is picked apart in the ACLU’s ‘Torture Report’.
Experts have dissected govt. documents (released under the Freedom of Information Act) to piece together the practice of enhanced interrogation techniques; practices that have ultimately derailed the prosecution cases against hundreds of GWOT detainees.