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NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors plan to give Osama bin Laden a starring role in the terrorism trial of the first Guantanamo Bay detainee to be tried in civilian courts, a test case in the debate over whether suspects scooped up in the war against terrorism can be prosecuted like everyone else.
Jury selection is beginning Wednesday in the trial of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, described by federal authorities as a bomb maker, document forger and former bin Laden aide. He's charged with conspiring to kill Americans in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa. The attacks killed 224 people, including a dozen Americans, and were widely viewed as a precursor to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
The trial will be closely watched by those debating the feasibility of civilian trials of high-profile Guantanamo detainees arrested around the world. Some were subjected to harsh interrogations at secret CIA-run camps where the gathering of trial evidence yielded to an immediate need to unearth terrorism threats.
The government plans to use bin Laden's words, including a television interview in which he said U.S. civilians were targets of his holy war against the West, as evidence in Ghailani's trial.
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