by MONITOR
ALTHOUGH President Obama is meeting Congressional and other obstacles to fulfilling his promise to close Guantanamo Bay prison he repeated that pledge in his speech in Cairo ten days ago. The removal this week of the prisoner Ahmed Ghailani from Guantanamo Bay to face trial in New York therefore represents a considerable gamble for the President. If Ghailani, who pleads not guilty to 286 charges of murder linked to attacks on US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, is found guilty he will presumably be sentenced to life imprisonment in a high security US jail. However, if the prosecution case is unsuccessful but the administration is unwilling to release him, the only option would be to return him to Guantanamo Bay. Any such failure might be on the grounds, claimed by Ghailani, that some evidence against him was obtained by torture when he was held at secret CIA prisons before he was moved to Guantanamo and is therefore unreliable and inadmissible. There are 14 so-called “high-value” prisoners like Chailani still kept at Guantanamo Bay, and some 240 other detainees still held without trial. President Obama has acknowledged that dealing with these prisoners fairly poses a major problem. Ahmed Ghailani is the first to be introduced into the American civil justice system. A great deal therefore depends on the way in which his trial proceeds and on its eventual outcome.

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