The Obama administration on Tuesday transferred its first Guantanamo detainee to U.S. soil by having U.S. marshals move a Tanzanian man from Guantanamo to New York City for trial on capital terror charges.
A predawn Justice Department statement said Ahmed Ghailani, about 35, was being housed in the Metropolitan Correction Center, a medium to maximum-security lockup in downtown Manhattan that has held everyone from alleged al Qaeda arch-terrorists to financier Bernard Madoff.
Ghaliani, born in Zanzibar and captured in Afghanistan, had been at a secret Super Max-style lock-up at the remote U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba for former CIA captives called Camp 7.
He faced arraignment in federal court later in the day as an alleged co-conspirator in the Aug. 7, 1998, U.S. Embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, that killed 234 people.
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The development illustrated a White House commitment to break with the Bush administration and move some of the 200 or so war on terror detainees from military to civilian trials.
It came just weeks after Congress stripped some $80 million from a supplemental Defense Department budget the White House had sought to pay lawyers' fees and possibly use on infrastructure costs as it plans to empty the prison camps at Guantanamo by Jan. 22.
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