The US civilian trial of a terrorist suspect has been put back till next week after a federal judge barred a key government witness from giving evidence.
The defendant, Ahmed Ghailani, is accused of conspiring to bomb the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998.
The witness was expected to testify that he sold Ghailani explosives. The judge excluded him because he said the testimony was the product of statements made by Ghailani to the CIA under duress.
Ahmed Ghailani’s lawyer, Peter Quijano, welcomed the decision:
“It is the Constitution that won a great victory today. We applaud the court for its courage and support for the law,” he said.
The attacks in Africa killed more than 200 people. Ghailani allegedly served as a close aid to Osama bin Laden, before he was captured and sent to Guantanamo Bay.
The ruling could jeopardise the Obama administration’s plans for more civilian trials of Guantanamo detainees – and casts further doubt on the legitimacy of military interrogation techniques.