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Guantanamo detainee faces New York court -

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PETER CAVE: For the first time the Obama administration has transferred a Guantanamo Bay detainee
to the United States to face trial.

The suspect has been flown to New York to face court on charges relating to the 1998 bombings of
two US embassies in East Africa.

In his brief, court appearance, Ahmed Ghailani has pleaded not guilty.

He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Washington correspondent Kim Landers reports.

KIM LANDERS: The President Barack Obama has long argued that some Guantanamo detainees can be
safely prosecuted and imprisoned in the United States.

Now he's putting that theory to the test with the first Guantanamo detainee to face a US civilian
court.

Ahmed Ghailani is a Tanzanian national who's been accused of taking part in the 1998 bombings of
the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.

He's been charged with the murder of 224 people, conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to use weapons
of mass destruction against Americans.

At his first appearance in a New York court today he's pleaded not guilty.

Susan Hirsch was at the US embassy in Tanzania when the bomb went off.

Her husband was killed.

She's pleased that Ahmed Ghailani is going on trial in a New York court.

SUSAN HIRSCH: It's very important for me that everyone who is indicted for this case be brought to
trial and held accountable in an open court of law. So I'm relieved that we've now started down
that road.

KIM LANDERS: Ahmed Ghailani was first charged before the September the 11th attacks.

He was captured three years later and held in a secret CIA prison overseas before being transferred
to Guantanamo in 2006.

Four of his co-conspirators have already been tried and convicted in a New York court and they're
serving life sentences in a so-called "supermax prison" in Colorado.

But Republicans say the decision to transfer Ahmed Ghailani to New York is the first step in the
Democrats' plan to import terrorists to the United States.

Cully Stimson is a former deputy assistant defence secretary for detainee affairs, who's now a
senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

CULLY STIMSON: It's shrewd. It's a shrewd move. It shows that they're pragmatic.

I mean, clearly, if the Obama administration had evidence of his involvement with Al Qaeda after
9/11, they could have chosen to let him remain in commissions. They could have chosen to bring to
the fore any involvement he may have had in 9/11.

But by choosing to carve all that stuff out, push it to the side - all the stuff 9/11 and after
9/11 - they're taking a very pragmatic, sort of journeyman approach.

They realise that his henchmen, his co-henchmen, have already been convicted and that there is a
more than a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits in the case that they're now bringing
against him.

KIM LANDERS: It's unclear how many more Guantanamo detainees will be brought to the US to face
trial.

Benjamin Wittes is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who focuses on legal issues
surrounding the war on terrorism.

BENJAMIN WITTES: How much will this reassure people that you can bring people to trial in the
United States?

I think that totally depends first of all on how well the trial goes and I think that there is no
particular reason to think you can't bring Ghailani to trial.

The other question of course is how typical his case is, and in this sense, you know, his case is
not typical at all. There was an indictment against him that pre-dated his capture, you know, that
dates back quite a while.

And so, you know, he's somebody against whom there was enough evidence to have an indictment a long
time ago and that is not true of a lot of the Guantanamo people.

KIM LANDERS: Ahmed Ghailani will face court again next week.

This is Kim Landers in Washington for The World Today.