(CN) – The first Guantanamo detainee to be tried in the United States was flown to New York today to face charges of bombing U.S. Embassies in Africa, the Justice Department said. Ahmed Ghaliani was to appear in Manhattan Federal Court “for his alleged role in the bombing of U.S. Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and the murder of 224 people,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
Ghaliani was indicted in 1998 for the Embassy bombings which killed more than 224 people, including 12 Americans. Prosecutors say he also was a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden.
The long-awaited prosecution will be a key moment in President Obama’s announced plans to overhaul the Bush administration’s Guantanamo policies.
The Aug. 7, 1998 Embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi prompted then-President Bill Clinton to order cruise missile attacks on bin Laden’s camps in Afghanistan. Republicans said at the time that Clinton launched the cruise missiles to divert the U.S. public from his political problems.