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Osama bin Laden's bodyguard gets life imprisonment

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani,al-Qaeda terrorist Osama bin Laden's bodyguard has been sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people.

world Updated: Jan 26, 2011 12:18 IST

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, Osama bin Laden's bodyguard, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people.

Ghailani, who has spent the last six years in "black sites" and Guantanamo Bay, is the first detainee for the detention facility to be tried in a civilian court.

Due to the background of torture, the defence had asked for a lighter sentence but judge Lewis.

Judge Kaplan said that no matter how Ghailani was treated while in detention, "the impact on him pales in comparison to the suffering and the horror that he and his confederates caused," The New York Times reported.

"It was a cold-blooded killing and maiming of innocent people on an enormous scale," Judge Kaplan said.

"The very purpose of the crime was to create terror by causing death and destruction."

Ghailani was captured in Pakistan in 2004, and was moved last year from Guantánamo to Manhattan to be tried in civilian court. He had pleaded not guilty.

"This trial has been as divorced from any questionable practice that may have been engaged in by anybody other than the defendant as this human being is capable of having made it," the judge said, as quoted by NYT.

"I simply put all of that out of my mind."

Ghailani knew and intended that people would be killed as a result of his own actions and of the conspiracy that he joined," he added.

The transcript of an interrogation by the Feds, which was made public, last year, shed some light on how Ghailani came to be working for the Most Wanted Man.

He was told that the question, posed through an intermediary, had come from bin Laden.

Will you be my bodyguard? Ghailani did not immediately say yes, the document shows.

He said he would have to check with "the brothers at the training camp." When he had not yet responded two weeks later, he was asked again.

This time, Ghailani said that he "did not have a good reason not to join them, and thus he became a bodyguard" for bin Laden, according to the FBI's account, which the American media reported in 2010.

In court yesterday, Ghailani did not show any emotion when family members spoke, the newspaper said.

He declined to speak at the end.

Before being taken away he smiled at his lawyers, Peter E Quijano and Anna N Sideris, and hugged Sideris briefly.