US Judge Bars Witness Whose Name Was Revealed in CIA Interrogation

A federal judge has delayed a major terrorism trial to give the government time to regroup after barring a major witness from testifying for the prosecution.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan barred the witness in the case against Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who is accused of conspiring in embassy bombings that killed 224 people in Kenya and Tanzania, the New York Times reports. Ghailani had revealed the name of the witness while he was being subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques” in a secret CIA prison overseas, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports.

Kaplan ruled minutes before the trial was scheduled to begin, the Times says. Ghailani is the first Guantanamo detainee to face trial in the United States, according to the Wall Street Journal. The trial is now scheduled to resume Tuesday.

“The court has not reached this conclusion lightly,” Kaplan said in his order. “It is acutely aware of the perilous nature of the world in which we live. But the Constitution is the rock upon which our nation rests. We must follow it not only when it is convenient, but when fear and danger beckon in a different direction. To do less would diminish us and undermine the foundation upon which we stand.”

Kaplan pointed out that Ghailani is an enemy combatant, and the government would likely be able to detain him, even if he is found not guilty, until U.S. hostilities with al-Qaida and the Taliban end.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Guantanamo Detainee Flown to US for Bombing Trial”

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