[JURIST] A federal judge on Thursday set a trial date for terrorism suspect and former Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Ahmed Ghailani [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive] of September 13, 2010. Ghailani, the first Guantanamo detainee to be transferred [JURIST report] to the US for a civilian trial, faces charges for his alleged involvement in the 1998 bombings of US embassies [PBS backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in Tanzania and Kenya. The trial date was set by Judge Lewis Kaplan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website]. No date was set for the next hearing, as defense lawyers asked for more time to prepare. Prosecutors have not yet decided whether they will seek the death penalty.
Earlier this week, Ghailani's lawyers requested access [JURIST report] to secret prisons [JURIST news archive] operated by the Central Intelligence Agency [official website], known as "black sites," at which their client was held prior to his transfer to Guantanamo Bay. Having been held at the Guantanamo facility since 2006 following his 2004 arrest in Pakistan, Ghailani was transferred to the US last month to face 286 separate counts including involvement in the bombings and conspiring with members of al Qaeda to kill Americans worldwide. He pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] at his initial appearance. In a rare move [JURIST op-ed] last month, Kaplan tentatively granted [JURIST report] Ghailani's request that his military lawyers be allowed to represent him in civilian court, pending military approval. The announcement [JURIST report] that Ghailani would be tried in federal court came last month following the ordered review of all Guantanamo detainees pursuant to plans to close the detention facility [JURIST news archive].