Life Sentencing for First Gitmo TrialJanuary 25, 2011 - 3:10 PM | by: David Lee Miller
The first Guantanomo Bay detainee to be tried in a civilian court was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. Ahmed Ghailani convicted in connection with the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania turned down the opportunity to address the court.
Last month Ghailani was found guilty of conspiracy to destroy government property but acquitted of 283 other charges including 224 counts of murder.
During the sentencing at the federal courthouse in Manhattan, eleven survivors of the blast testified before the court. Many urged the judge to impose a maximum sentence of life. As they spoke Ghailani remained stoic. One victim suggested that Ghailani should serve his sentence in Africa where prison conditions were harsher than the United States.
Ghailani’s Defense Attorney Peter Quijano asked Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan for leniency saying Ghailani was the victim of torture when questioned by US interrogators and provided the US with “actionable” intelligence. Quijano speaking with reporters after the hearing said he will appeal Ghailani’s life sentence and the earlier conviction.
US Attorney Preet Bharara issued a statement saying “justice was served” and called Ghailani “a remorseless terrorist” who will spend the rest of his life in prison.