Justice Dept defends use of courts in terror cases

Thursday, November 18, 2010 | 1:47 p.m. CST

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Justice Department official says the Obama administration is committed to trying some terrorism suspects in civilian courts.

Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Ahmed Ghailani was convicted in a federal court in New York of a serious crime for which he could be sentenced to life in prison.

Ghailani was acquitted of more than 280 other criminal charges stemming from al-Qaida's 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

Miller told reporters that the administration will continue to rely on a combination of civilian courts and military commissions to handle terrorism cases.

Attorney General Eric Holder's plan to try avowed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others in New York is on hold because of opposition in Congress.