Tanzanian prisoner Ahmed Ghailani was transferred today from the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, NY to face charges for his role in the 1998 bombings of embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
Ghailani is the first Guantanamo Bay detainee to be moved into the United States since President Obama pledged to shut down the controversial military prison at the beginning of his term. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement, "With his appearance in federal court today, Ahmed Ghailani is being held accountable for his alleged role in the bombing of U.S. Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and the murder of 224 people." Holder continued, "The Justice Department has a long history of securely detaining and successfully prosecuting terror suspects through the criminal justice system, and we will bring that experience to bear in seeking justice in this case."
Although the administration has made closing the the Cuban prison complex a clear priority, they continue to face resistance from congress. Lawmakers want assurance that bringing detainees into the United States would not present a risk to the country's national security.
The Justice Department noted in a press release today that there are 216 inmates in federal prisons who have connections to international terrorism and that there has never been an escape from the supermax facility in Florence, Colorado—where thirty-three convicted terrorists are currently being held.
Ghailani is expected to appear before a federal court today.