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... supports Professor William Snyder's sections of National Security Law, Counterterrorism Law, and Prosecuting Terrorists at the Syracuse University College of Law.

Reaction to Ghailani Verdict

The verdict handed down yesterday, November 17, 2010, in the trial of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani drew a surprised reaction from many observers. 

Lawfare blog reports that Matthew Miller, director of public affairs for the Department of Justice, said in a statement that “[w]e respect the jury’s verdict and are pleased that Ahmed Ghailani now faces a minimum of 20 years in prison and a potential life sentence for his role in the embassy bombings.” His statement is available here

The Miami Herald assembled a list of statements in reaction to the verdict yesterday in an article entitled "Reaction to the NYC terror verdict." The full list of those statements is available here. US Attorney Preet Bharara's statement is included below as well as a statement from Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project:

"Ahmed Ghailani was today convicted of conspiring in the 1998 destruction of the United States Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, causing death as a result He will face, and we will seek, the maximum sentence of life without parole when he is sentenced in January. I want to express my deep appreciation for the unflagging commitment, dedication and talent of the agents who so thoroughly investigated this case and the prosecutors who so ably tried it." US Attorney Preet Bharara

"This case should put to rest any unfounded fears that our federal justice system cannot conduct fair, safe and effective trials in terrorism cases. The jury heard the evidence and delivered a verdict that — unlike military commissions trials — we can trust. We should be proud of a system that isn't set up to simply rubber-stamp the government's case no matter how little reliable evidence there may be. Federal courts are not only the right place but the most effective place to prosecute terrorism suspects." Hina Shamsi, director ACLU National Security Project

An op-ed from the NY Post published today, November 18, 2010, entitled "Terror-trial Travesty," is included here. The NY Post opines:

"That obscene verdict — and the tortured, civilian-court process the led to it — should put an end, once and for all, to any thought of trying other terrorists in similar fashion. Particularly, 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed."

Slate reports today, November 18,  in an article entitled "Can A "Speedy" Trial Really Take Five Years?" the following in addressing the length of Ghailani's trial:

"A five-year delay isn't actually all that extraordinary. In Barker v. Wingo, one of the seminal Supreme Court cases on this topic, the government held the defendant for that long and didn't even have a national security excuse. The prosecutors wanted to try Barker's accomplice before him, but it took six trials thanks to hung juries and appeals. Then, when Barker's trial was finally scheduled, one of the government's key witnesses was too sick to testify. The Supreme Court ruled that the postponements were OK, since the defendant waited for three years to start complaining, suggesting that he was OK with situation. And, as with the other examples cited here, the delay didn't affect the trial."

NPR reports today, November 18, in an article entitled "Military Trials for Terrorism Suspects No Slam-Dunk," that an appeal on the conspiracy charge is sought by the defense:

"On the other side, defense lawyers for Ghailani say they haven't stopped fighting. They're going to appeal the single conspiracy conviction. And that's not all. 'We will be arguing strongly that based upon everything that Mr. Ghailani has gone through while in United States custody, specifically what he went through at the CIA black sites, what he went through at Guantanamo Bay, that those should mitigate against having a harsher sentence,' said Michael Bachrach, a member of the defense team."

 

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