Ghailani Trial: Was it a Win?
By Main Justice staff | November 18, 2021 10:21 am

Over at the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog, reporter Ashby Jones rounds up some of the reaction to the verdict of the trial against accused embassy bomber Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani.

Ghailani, the first Guantanamo Bay detainee to be tried in civilian courts, was acquitted on all but one count of conspiracy. He faces up to life in prison.

So is one conviction still a win? And what does this do to Attorney General Eric Holder’s proposal that the Sept. 11 plotters be tried in civilian courts?

It depends on who you ask, Jones reports.

Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and the founder of Keep America Safe, called the Obama administration “reckless” for insisting on a civilian trial. On the other side, Daphne Eviatar, a human rights lawyer writing for The Huffington Post, notes that prosecutors had limited evidence to work with after a judge threw out the testimony of a key witness. Given those limitations, the verdict isn’t surprising.

Over at the New York, writer Amy Davidson notes that the one conviction isn’t so shabby — it comes with a mandatory minimum of 20 years.

The verdict is “a blow to both sides of the debate; neither side comes away with a clean argument for its case,” Robert Chesney, a University of Texas law professor, told the WSJ.


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