News / USA

First Guantanamo Detainee Terror Trial Opens in New York

In this courtroom sketch, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Lewin, foreground, gives his opening statement to the jury in the trial of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, left, as lead defense attorney Steve Zissou, third from left, and Judge Lewin Kaplan, right, look
In this courtroom sketch, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Lewin, foreground, gives his opening statement to the jury in the trial of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, left, as lead defense attorney Steve Zissou, third from left, and Judge Lewin Kaplan, right, look

The trial of accused terrorist Ahmed Ghailani began in New York City on Tuesday. Ghailani is accused of taking part in the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Tanzania.

The proceedings began with a statement from U.S. Assistant Attorney Nicholas Lewin, who said the government will establish that the defendant was involved in the acquisition of a refrigerator truck and explosives that were used in the suicide bombing of the U.S. embassy in Dar es Salaam. 

Lewin said a vehicle identification number from that vehicle led to Ghailani, adding that detonators and traces of explosives were found in his apartment.  The prosecutor also noted that 20 oxygen and acetylene tanks allegedly were purchased by Ghailani to increase the destructive force of the blast.

The government says it will prove that Ghailani fled to Pakistan with al-Qaida co-conspirators under an assumed name and fake passport the day before the attack.

One of Ghailani's attorneys, Steve Zissou, asked the jury not to be seduced by what he referred to as the prosecution's frightening characterization of the crime.  Zissou indicated that the defense will show that Ghailani was duped by al-Qaida operatives who used him to run errands, without telling him about their criminal intentions.

Zissou said his client was young at the time of the bombing.  He says Ghailani stayed with the al-Qaida operatives because they were older and that he admired them as successful businessmen.

Earlier, Ghailani's attorneys filed a motion for a mistrial, arguing that a questionnaire used for jury selection was based on assurances by the prosecution it that al-Qaida would not figure as prominently in the trial as it did in the government's opening statement.  Presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan rejected the motion.

The trial had been delayed for a week after Kaplan excluded a witness who prosecutors say admitted to selling explosives to Ghailani.  The judge said the witness was identified following enhanced interrogation of the defendant by the CIA, thus extending U.S. Constitutional protection against self-incrimination to a foreign terror suspect. 

The government's first witness was John Lange, the former Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. embassy in Tanzania.  Lange was questioned about the physical layout of the embassy and aftermath of the attack.

The defense's cross-examination ended the day's proceedings, when Lange was asked whether he knew the meaning of the phrase Romeo Two.  Lange said he did not.  No explanation was provided.  

Judge Kaplan indicated that the trial might last several weeks or months, perhaps into next year.

Ahmed Ghailani is the first suspect held at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to be tried in an American civilian court.  He is charged with 224 counts of murder as well as terrorism and conspiracy with al-Qaida to kill Americans around the world.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid