Attorney General Eric Holder has used the New York conviction of al-Qaida's post-Sept. 11 attacks spokesman to signal that terror suspects now will routinely be sent to civil courts rather than military tribunals.

Holder said he hopes the swift conviction Wednesday of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith (SOO'-lay-mahn AH'-boo GAYTH) in Manhattan puts to rest the political debate over where terrorism suspects should face justice. Abu Ghaith was captured only a year ago in Jordan.

The conviction came three years after Holder was forced to reverse his decision to try the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks in federal court in New York and return him to military tribunal proceedings.

Abu Ghaith is the highest-ranking al-Qaida figure brought to trial on U.S. soil since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.