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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.

The Ghailani Sentence

The New York Times reports, in an article entitled "U.S. Embassy Bomber Receives a Life Sentence," that Ahmed Ghailani, the first former Guantánamo Bay camp detainee to be tried in the civilian court system, was sentenced to life in prison this today, Tuesday January 25, for his role in the 1998 bombings of two United States Embassies in East Africa.

Judge Lewis Kaplan of United States District Court,  before imposing the sentence, said that “Mr. Ghailani knew and intended that people would be killed as a result of his own actions and the conspiracy he joined.” The judge rejected the defense’s request for a lesser sentence, saying “the very purpose of the crime was to create terror by causing death and destruction.”

The Washington Post reports, in an article entitled "Gitmo Detainee Ghailani Gets Life" the following:

U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan sentenced Ahmed Ghailani to life, calling the attacks "horrific" and saying the deaths and damage they caused far outweighs "any and all considerations that have been advanced on behalf of the defendant." He also ordered Ghailani to pay $33 million in restitution.

In response to the sentencing, Jack Goldsmith indicates on Lawfare blog in a post entitled "The Ghailani Sentence," that he doubts the Ghailani verdict will pave the way for more civilian trials of GTMO detainees in the near future. Goldsmith writes:

"I doubt that the Ghailani verdict points the way for more civilian trials of GTMO detainees in the near future.  There don’t seem to be that many cases that the administration thinks it can win in civilian court.  But more importantly, this verdict won’t change congressional resistance to such trials, and the President is unlikely to expend political capital in a presidential election cycle to reverse this resistance.  The Obama administration is apparently trying to revive military commissions, but that slow path is full of legal uncertainties.  For the foreseeable future, then, the administration will likely continue to rely on military detention, the default mode of terrorist incapacitation now for over a decade."

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