A Guantanamo detainee transferred to the US for trial in the American embassy bombings in Africa wants to keep his military defense team, one of the attorneys said on Tuesday (June 9). Two Pentagon-appointed attorneys for Ahmed Ghailani were traveling to New York for his arraignment today afternoon in hopes of staying on the case, Marine Col Jeffrey Colwell said in a telephone interview from Washington.

“First and foremost is what he wants,” Colwell said of his client. “We’ve got a good working relationship.”  Ghailani is the first detainee from the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be transferred to the United States under an Obama administration plan to prosecute some of the remaining 240 prisoners in the federal court system.

Colwell said he and his fellow military counsel, Air Force Maj Richard Reiter, have been preparing to defend Ghailani in federal court. He said the administration has not responded to their request to stay on the case. Colwell, who was assigned to represent Ghailani before Guantanamo’s military commissions, said protective orders bar him from sharing details of the regular meetings they have held at the remote US Navy base in southeast Cuba since August.  As a “high-value” detainee, Ghailani, a Tanzanian, has been held since 2006 at a secret Guantanamo prison reserved for prisoners transferred out of CIA custody.

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