This was the test case for the Department of Justice. This case would show how enemy combatants could be tried in civilian courts. The only problem is that out of more than 280 charges the defendant was convicted of only one. Ahmed Ghailani was convicted of conspiracy to blow up a government building while being acquitted of the more serious charges of murder. Even though Ghailani faces 20 years to life this doesn’t look good for the department of Justice.
Ghailani was instrumental in the bombings of US Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In Nairobi 213 people were killed and over 4000 where wounded. These were mostly locals.
Last month prosecutors were barred from calling a crucial witness. This witness directly linked Ghailani to the bombings. Judge Lewis Kaplan barred the witness based on the claims that the information was obtained through coercion.
The matter now, however, is before the Court on Ghailani’s motion to preclude the government from calling Hussein Abebe as a witness against him on the ground that Abebe’s testimony would be the product of statements made by Ghailani to the CIA under duress.
Abebe was identified and located as a close and direct result of statements made by Ghailani while he was held by the CIA. The government has elected not to litigate the details of Ghailani’s treatment while in CIA custody. It has sought to make this unnecessary by asking the Court to assume in deciding this motion that everything Ghailani said while in CIA custody was coerced.)1 In these circumstances, the Constitution does not permit Abebe to testify in this criminal trial unless the government has sustained its burden of proving that (l) the connection between Ghailani’s coerced statements and Abebe’s testimony is sufficiently remote or attenuated, or (2) there is another basis upon which that testimony properly may be received.
In this case the defendant was acquitted of all murder charges. So the question is raised once again, why are we trying these enemy combatants in civilian courts when military tribunals are legal and allowed? Has this hurt the case against Khaled Sheikh Mohammad?
In one of what appears to be many missteps the DOJ has again failed the United States citizens. No I’m not surprised.