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Tanzania bombing suspect charged with war crimes

  • Story Highlights
  • 1998 bombing in Dar es Salaam killed 11, injured hundreds
  • Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian, faces nine charges
  • Al Qaeda-linked suspect could get death sentence from military tribunal
  • U.S. Embassy in Kenya bombed almost same time on August 7, 1998
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An al Qaeda suspect alleged to have been involved in the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania that killed 11 people faces war crimes charges, the Pentagon announced Monday.

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Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani is shown in a photo posted by the FBI in 2004.

The bombing in Dar es Salaam, which also wounded hundreds, was one of two carried out nearly simultaneously on August 7, 1998. One in Nairobi, Kenya, killed 213 people.

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, from Tanzania, faces nine charges, six of them offenses that could carry the death penalty if he is convicted by a military tribunal.

He was captured by Pakistan in 2004 and is being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In a written announcement, the Pentagon said Ghailani is "charged with the following substantive offenses: murder in violation of the Law of War, murder of protected persons, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, destruction of property in violation of the Law of War and terrorism. In addition, he is charged with conspiracy to commit all of the above offenses.

"Ghailani is further charged with providing material support to terrorism. This charge alleges that after the bombing, Ghailani continued in his service to al Qaeda as a document forger, physical trainer at an al Qaeda training camp, and as a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden."

The charges say he purchased bomb components, scouted the embassy with the suicide bomb driver, met with co-conspirators, and fled to Karachi, Pakistan, one day before the bombing.

The convening authority for military commissions, Susan J. Crawford, will determine whether probable cause exists for a trial by military commission, said Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartman of the Office of Military Commissions.

For Ghailani to ultimately be sentenced to death, the 12-member jury would have to unanimously find him guilty, determine that aggravating factors apply, and concur on the death sentence, Hartman told reporters at the Pentagon. "Everything has to be unanimous."

"And then there are four levels of post-trial review, which is an extraordinary set of rights available," he said.

In December, 1998 -- a few months after the embassy bombings -- Ghailani and three other fugitives were indicted in U.S. District Court in New York. It is not known whether he may ultimately face a federal trial. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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