Gitmo Detainee’s Lawyers: Five Years Later Too Late for ‘Speedy Trial’

Prosecutors Dismiss Rights, Cite 9/11

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian detainee at Guantanamo Bay whom the Obama Administration intends to be the first Gitmo detainee to get an actual trial, spent over five years in US custody, much of it in CIA black sites.

His lawyers intend to argue to the judge that five years in custody subjected to enhanced interrogations, including waterboarding, does not qualify as a “speedy trial” as the US Constitution guarantees.

Ghailani is accused of playing a role
in the 1998 US embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya, and was captured in 2004. He originally was intended to be tried in a military tribunal, which could have led to his execution.

Prosecutors shrugged off the claim that the detainee had a right to a speedy trial, insisting that 9/11 was a threat and that they reasonably believed that, given enough interrogation of Ghailani, thyey could stop an even bigger 9/11. Ghailani is not alleged to have had anything to do with 9/11, nor with any hypothetical future 9/11s.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.