Thursday, October 07, 2010
Judge bans key witness from detainee’s NY trial | Raw Story
Openings delayed at Guantanamo detainee's trial after judge rules key witness can't testify
The first civilian trial for a Guantanamo Bay detainee was delayed Wednesday after a Manhattan judge told prosecutors they cannot call their star witness.
U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan blocked the government from calling a man who authorities said sold explosives to the defendant, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani. Defense lawyers say investigators only learned about the witness after Ghailani underwent harsh interrogation at a secret CIA-run camp overseas between 2004 and 2006.
"The court has not reached this conclusion lightly," Kaplan wrote. "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 when it is convenient, but when fear and danger beckon in a different direction."
The government immediately asked for a delay of the trial, which had been expected to begin with opening statements on Wednesday, so that it has time to appeal the ruling, should it decide to do so.