Ahmed Ghailani—the first Guantanamo detainee to be tried by a civilian court—was sentenced to life in prison today without parole, the AP reports. Ghailani, 36, had been acquitted of more than 200 counts of murder stemming from the attack on US embassies in Africa in 1998, but the jury convicted him of a single count of conspiracy to destroy government buildings. Prosecutors described Ghailani as a key planner of the attacks, and the judge apparently agreed in giving him the maximum.
The sentence "makes it crystal clear that others engaged or contemplating engaging in deadly acts of terrorism risk enormously serious consequences," he said. The defense argued that Ghailani, who once worked as a bodyguard and cook for Osama bin Laden, had been tortured in custody, but the judge said anything he suffered "pales in comparison to the suffering and the horror" caused by the bombings.