First Gitmo Detainee to Face Trial Pleads Not Guilty

Denies role in 1998 embassy bombings
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 9, 2009 3:41 PM CDT
An undated file photo provided by the US District Attorney's office shows Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani.    (AP Photo)

(Newser) – The first Guantanamo Bay detainee to be brought to the US for trial has pleaded not guilty in two embassy bombings. Ahmed Ghailani entered the plea today in federal court in Manhattan. Ghailani is charged with participating in the bombing of embassies in Africa in August 1998, attacks that killed more than 224 people, including 12 Americans.

Ghailani arrived in the US under heavy guard earlier in the day, and his trial is seen as an important test case in President Obama's plan to shut the Guantanamo Bay prison by early next year. US officials say Ghailani began his terrorist career on a bicycle delivering bomb parts and rose through the al-Qaeda ranks to become a bodyguard to Osama bin Laden. (Read more Guantanamo Bay stories.)