In addition, the few convictions in Guantanamo have in some cases been overturned; for instance, that of Salim Hamden, who was bin Laden's driver.
In other cases, the sentences handed down have been very short compared with those in civilian trials of alleged terrorists in the U.S.
David Hicks, an Australian detainee at Guantanamo, plea bargained his way out of the camp with time served and nine months in an Australian prison.
Perhaps because of his relatively minor role in al Qaeda, the announcement that Abu Ghaith will face trial in Manhattan has not produced so far any of the "not in my backyard" response we saw when the Obama administration announced in late 2009 that it was planning to put Sheikh Mohammed on trial in Manhattan.
The political storm this unleashed forced the Obama administration to backtrack and to announce two years later that Sheik Mohammed instead would be tried by a military tribunal at Guantanamo.
If Abu Ghaith's case goes forward without a backlash in New York and a conviction is secured, as seems all but certain, we can be sure that he will not be the last alleged member of al Qaeda seized overseas who will be sent to the Southern District of New York to face trial -- rather than go before a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay and all the uncertainties that such trials have hitherto encountered.
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