EMBASSY BOMBER AHMED GHAILANI GETS LIFE IN PRISON

A New York District judge on January 25, 2011, sentenced the first Guantanamo detainee to have a U.S. civilian trial to life in prison, saying anything he suffered at the hands of the U.S. and others “pales in comparison to the suffering and the horror” caused by the bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998.

The judge called 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 a $33 million fine.

Kaplan denounced the attacks and said he was satisfied that Ghailani knew and intended that people would be killed as a result of his actions and the conspiracy he joined:

This crime was so horrible,” he said. It was a cold-blooded killing and maiming of innocent people on an enormous scale. It wrecked the lives of thousands more … who had their lives changed forever. The purpose of the crime was to create terror by causing death and destruction on a scale that was hard to imagine in 1998 when it occurred.

Ghailani, a Tanzanian, was captured in Pakistan in 2004 and later interrogated overseas. He was moved to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2006 before being transferred to New York for prosecution in 2009.

Evidence at trial showed that Ghailani helped purchase bomb components prior to the attacks, including 15 gas tanks designed to enhance the power of the bombs, along with one of the bomb vehicles.

The FBI also said Ghailani was trained by al-Qaida after the twin 1998 attacks in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and became a bodyguard and cook for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan before becoming an expert document forger for the terrorist organization.

Ghailani is the fifth person to be sentenced. Four others were sentenced to life in prison after a 2001 trial in Manhattan federal court. Bin Laden is charged in the indictment, as well.

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