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AP source says Feds eye NY trial for Gitmo suspect

AP source says Feds eye NY trial for Gitmo suspect

Federal prosecutors are considering a trial in New York City for a Guantanamo Bay detainee named Majid Khan, who grew up in the United States before allegedly enlisting in al-Qaida, a person familiar with the discussions said Monday.
Khan is among fewer than 20 detainees at the U.S. detention center in Cuba labeled high-value by the U.S. government, people thought to be senior members of al-Qaida or to have extensive knowledge of the terror network.
The Justice Department is weighing whether to put him on trial in federal court in Brooklyn, a borough of New York, but no decision has been made, according to the person discussing the deliberations on condition of anonymity.
Attorney General Eric Holder already has decided that self-declared 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four accused henchmen will be tried in federal court in lower Manhattan, also New York City.
Sending Khan and possibly other Guantanamo detainees to trial in Brooklyn raises the possibility of one city hosting two major terrorism trials in separate locations, although it is difficult to predict when either would start, given the lengthy pretrial process for each that could easily last more than one year.
Khan was a legal U.S. resident who lived in Baltimore, Maryland, 40 miles north of Washington, before moving to Pakistan. Counterterror officials say he eventually met Mohammed, the plotter and senior al-Qaida planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States.
Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said the agency and the Defense Department continue to review the Guantanamo cases and said no final decisions had been made about where to send other detainees since Holder announced Nov. 13 that Mohammed and four others would be tried in New York, in addition to five others being sent to military commissions.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn would not comment.
It was not immediately clear what charges Khan could face in a civilian setting, but his alleged history offers an intriguing possibility and a potential reason to put the case in Brooklyn.
Military officials say that in 2001, Khan met and spoke with a man named Iyman Faris. Years later, Faris pleaded guilty in an alleged plot to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge.
During that 2001 meeting with Faris, Khan allegedly said he wanted to wear an explosive vest on a suicide mission to kill Pakistan's then-president, Pervez Musharaff.
Once Khan traveled to Pakistan, the government says, Mohammed asked Khan to help ferry $50,000 to an al-Qaida affiliate in Thailand. Officials say that money was used to fund a bomb attack on a J.W. Marriott hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia. The August 2003 attack killed 12 people and 144 others were injured, including two U.S. citizens.
Khan was captured in 2003, and U.S. officials say he admitted during interrogation to making the delivery and provided information that led to the capture of another terror operative.
Two other high-value detainees also are being held at Guantanamo facing accusations they played roles in the Jakarta bombing.
If the attorney general should choose not to send Khan to Brooklyn for trial, two other possible court venues are Alexandria, Virginia, a Washington suburb where Faris pleaded guilty, and Manhattan federal court, where another alleged associate was convicted. Holder also is considering whether to send some Guantanamo detainees to trial in federal court in Washington.
A high-profile terrorism trial in Brooklyn also could expand the security demands on federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, if the court schedules should overlap.
Currently, there are 210 detainees held at Guantanamo. President Barack Obama has pledged to close the detention center, but the administration does not expect to meet its self-imposed deadline to do so by next month.
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Hays reported from New York.


Updated : 2021-10-28 02:54 GMT+08:00