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NY jury acquits Tanzanian man of 284 counts of Qaeda-linked terrorism

By Abdul Nisar

New York, Nov.18 (ANI): A New York jury has acquitted a Tanzanian man of 284 counts related to his alleged involvement in Al Qaeda terrorism, delivering a major setback to Obama administration plans to try terror suspects in US civilian courts.

The jury convicted Ahmed Ghailani of a single conspiracy charge for his role in the 1998 truck bombing of the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, but rejected the vast majority of the government's case, reports the Christian Science Monitor (CSM).

The trial is significant because Ghailani is the first Guantnamo detainee to be transferred to the US for a civilian trial.

It was seen a test case by administration officials to clear the way for similar civilian trials for other Al Qaeda terror suspects - including accused 9/11 mastermind Khaled Shaikh Mohammed.

Some analysts now predict that Mohammed will likely remain at Guantnamo and face a military commission proceeding - or no proceeding at all - rather than a federal judge and jury in the US.

Federal prosecutors had alleged that Ghailani was a terrorist and killer who knowingly helped an Al Qaeda terror cell in Africa assemble the ingredients for a deadly truck bombing.

The Aug. 7, 1998 attack on the US embassy in Dar es Salaam was coordinated with the nearly simultaneous truck bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. In all, 224 people were killed.

Four men who participated in the bombings were convicted in federal court in New York and are serving life prison sentences.

Ghailani faces a sentence of 20 years to life in prison on the terror conspiracy charge.

Sentencing is set for January 25. (ANI)

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