U.S. Won't Seek Death Penalty Against Embassy Bombing Defendant

Former Guantanamo detainee Ahmed Ghailani, who was transferred to New York for trial on conspiracy charges involving the 1998 bombings of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, won't face the death penalty. Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement through a DOJ spokesman yesterday:

“Ahmed Ghailani is on trial for the murder of 224 people, and we are committed to bringing him to justice for his alleged crimes. Other defendants in the embassy bombings case have either already received life sentences or will not be subject to the death penalty because the United States agreed not to seek it as a condition of their extradition. Given those circumstances and other factors in this case, the attorney general authorized the U.S. attorney to seek a life sentence.”


Ghalani has alleged he was tortured while kept in an overseas prison at the direction of the CIA:

Mr. Ghailani was captured in 2004 and held in secret prisons run by the Central Intelligence Agency until 2006, when he was moved to the Navy base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

A Tanzanian believed to be in his mid-30s, Mr. Ghailani has claimed in court papers that he was a victim of cruel interrogation techniques and was not afforded the right to remain silent or to have a lawyer.

The Defense Department also determined Ghalani should not face the death penalty before Ghalani was transferred.

Mr. Ghailani was charged with assisting in preparations for the bombing in Tanzania. In 2007, he apologized for his role before a military review panel at Guantánamo, but claimed to have been unaware of the plotters’ goal.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Nothing like being fair (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 10:26:04 AM EST
    to a mass murderer.

    he hasn't been found guilty of mass murder (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 10:45:45 AM EST
    your comment should read "alleged mass murderer." And his role in the offense matters. He isn't charged with setting off the bombs, but assisting in preparations and he maintains he didn't know the object of the conspiracy. Let him have a trial before pronouncing him guilty please.

    The only other option... (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 11:08:34 AM EST
    is to sink to the depths of a mass murderer.

    The "good guys" are supposed to be fair, its what makes them different from the "bad guys".


    If he's guilty (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 11:14:21 AM EST
    we're much better off keeping his butt in jail than killing him and giving him instant martyrdom.

    Not much glory in being bored and powerless in a high security pen.  

    Let me see.... (2.00 / 0) (#12)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 01:19:31 PM EST
    He was involved in a conspiracy and helped build bombs but didn't think anyone would be killed.

    OK, let's give him a fair trial and put him away for life.... or until he is part of a swap of our people for their people....

    And I don't think one more martyr, more or less, is going to change a single thing.

    I think (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 10:48:10 AM EST
    the promises were made to others involved in the bombing, not to Ghailani, who arrived at Gitmo via a CIA run secret prison overseas. It's a matter of avoiding disparity among defendants similarly situated rather than an express promise made in exchange for Ghailani's return.

    Interesting (none / 0) (#5)
    by Steve M on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 11:04:38 AM EST
    I guess it is inequitable to give one defendant a harsher punishment than other defendants who were more centrally involved in the underlying crime, but that never seems to have stopped the justice system before.

    Nice observation Steve... (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 11:30:57 AM EST
    lets hope the justice system is starting a new trend towards fairness...wouldn't that be something?

    Alotta work to do though:)


    Why do you say this? Are you talking (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 11:43:13 AM EST
    about defendants who plead out before trial compared to defendants who choose to go to trial?

    Not really (none / 0) (#13)
    by Steve M on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 01:34:17 PM EST
    That's a common scenario, of course, but I understand why you sometimes get inequitable results in that scenario.  But the fairness consideration discussed in this post is a new one on me, not that I have a problem with it.

    the dumb penalty (none / 0) (#11)
    by Illiope on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 12:07:12 PM EST
    and what good would executing Ghailani serve? other than our own vengeneance, that is.

    would it serve as a deterrent? ha. nope.

    if you want to create a martyr, if you want to further illustrate the jaw-gaping american exceptionalist double-standard, then go ahead execute him. but just know that it serves absolutely no purpose other than blood lust. blood lust for a bombing that took place in a country most americans couldn't find on a map.