NEW YORK (AP) – The first Guantanamo Bay detainee to go to trial in the U.S. was convicted of just one count and acquitted of 284 others largely because his multiple confessions in a post-9/11 world could not be shown to a jury.
The same outcome was expected for Ahmed Ghailani as if he were convicted on all counts — life imprisonment at his sentencing Tuesday.
The potential for a paradoxical outcome in the closely watched test case points to the difficulties of applying civilian laws and rules of evidence in civil prosecutions of suspects picked up in other countries in the war on terror.
It also may dash hopes that the Ghailani case would clear the way for the trials of other Guantanamo detainees captured around the globe in the war on al-Qaida.
The defense said the jury last year was inconsistent when it convicted Ghailani of conspiracy to destroy government buildings but acquitted him of the other counts.
The 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.
Ghailani bought explosives and a truck used to transport a bomb. He said he didn’t know they would be used in the attacks.