First Gitmo detainee to appear in U.S. Court

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani will be the first U.S. detainee held at Gitmo to be tried on U.S. soil today when he stands trial at the U.S. federal court for the Southern District of New York.

The trial will undoubtedly re-spark the debate over President Obama's plan to close the prison center at Guantanamo Bay by next year. If the trial goes well, the Obama administration will likely tout it as an example that detainees can be successful tried and held in the U.S., a major hang up for the plans critics.

Ghailani is charged with 286 separate counts in his March 2001 indictment. Among them are 224 murder charges for those killed in in the 1998 bombings of U.S. Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, according to the Department of Justice. He is also charged with conspiring with Osama bin Laden and other members of al-Qaeda.

"The Justice Department has a long history of securely detaining and successfully prosecuting terror suspects through the criminal justice system, and we will bring that experience to bear in seeking justice in this case," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

jeremy.jacobs@thehill.com