US & Canada

Jury deliberates in Ahmed Ghailani embassy bombs trial

Courtroom sketch of Mr Ghailani (left) at his trial in New York
Image caption The government's case suffered a setback when the judge refused to allow a star witness

A jury is deliberating for a second day in the trial of a former Guantanamo inmate accused of carrying out attacks in 1998 on US embassies in east Africa.

Ahmed Ghailani, a Tanzanian national, faces life in prison if convicted.

Defence lawyers have said he was duped by al-Qaeda members.

Mr Ghailani is the first Guantanamo inmate to be tried in a civilian court. The Obama administration hopes to hold similar civilian trials for other high-profile Guantanamo inmates.

In closing arguments on Wednesday, prosecutors in New York said Mr Ghailani was a cold-blooded killer who had bought a truck and explosive components before the attacks in Tanzania and Kenya, which killed 224 people. Among them were a dozen Americans.

They have said Mr Ghailani, who is believed to be in his 30s, was part of an al-Qaeda group determined to kill Americans.

The US government's case was hampered by a decision by US District Judge Lewis Kaplan to exclude a key government witness expected to testify that he had sold TNT used in the bombing of the US embassy in Tanzania in August 1998 to Mr Ghailani.

Judge Kaplan ruled the witness had named Mr Ghailani "under duress".

Mr Ghailani was detained in Pakistan in 2004, taken to a secret CIA facility and then to Guantanamo Bay in 2006.

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