Who is Ahmed Ghailani?

Ahmed Ghailani is the first Guantanamo Bay prisoner to be tried in a civilian court. Today he was acquitted of 285 out of 286 charges against him. Here are some facts about him.

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  • He is the first Guantanamo Bay prisoner to be tried in a civilian court rather than a military tribunal. His case is seen as a potential template for trying future Guantanamo detainees in civilian courts, such as the accused mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
  • Ghailani was accused of purchasing the truck and gas tanks used by militants in the embassy bombings in Africa.
  • Four men accused in the embassy case were convicted in October 2001. Ghailani was a fugitive until his July 25, 2004, capture during a gunfight in Pakistan.
  • He spent more than two years in CIA custody undergoing so-called enhanced interrogation at secret prisons. His defense lawyers say he was tortured. US prosecutors said they would not use any coerced testimony at trial.
  • In September 2006, Ghailani was transferred to US Department of Defense custody and taken to the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
  • US President Barack Obama's administration ordered that Ghailani be taken to New York, where he was transferred on June 9, 2009, to stand trial in a civilian court.
  • Prosecutors say Ghailani told US interrogators he started working for al Qa'eda in 1998. He said he was Osama bin Laden's bodyguard and cook. Ghailani said he went into hiding after the Afghanistan war started, court documents said.
  • A federal jury today convicted Ghailani of one count of conspiracy to destroy US property and acquitted him on more than 280 other counts, including one murder count for each of the 224 people killed in the embassy bombings. The anonymous jurors deliberated over seven days.
  • Ghailani was born in Zanzibar in April 1974. He speaks English and Swahili and has one daughter.