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US Seeks Life in Prison for bin Laden Son-in-law Abu Ghaith

  • Reuters

FILE - In this courtroom sketch, from left, Suleiman Abu Ghaith stands next to his attorney, Stanley Cohen, as courtroom deputy Andrew Mohan, reads the verdict and Judge Lewis Kaplan, right, listens, March 26, 2014 at federal court in New York.

FILE - In this courtroom sketch, from left, Suleiman Abu Ghaith stands next to his attorney, Stanley Cohen, as courtroom deputy Andrew Mohan, reads the verdict and Judge Lewis Kaplan, right, listens, March 26, 2014 at federal court in New York.

The United States on Monday said Suleiman Abu Ghaith, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, should spend the rest of his life in prison following his conviction on terrorism-related charges.

Abu Ghaith, 48, had been convicted in March by a Manhattan federal jury for conspiring to kill Americans, conspiring to provide material support for terrorists, and providing such support.

In a court filing, prosecutors portrayed Abu Ghaith as a charismatic mouthpiece for al-Qaida after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks who recorded inflammatory videos to recruit new members, and said the defendant showed no remorse and lied at his trial.

Prosecutors also rejected arguments by defense lawyers, who seek a 15-year prison term, that Abu Ghaith did not knowingly plot to murder Americans, and that his speeches amounted to mere “whistling past the graveyard” because al-Qaida was already reeling.

“The defendant played a central role in al-Qaida's conspiracy to kill Americans, unapologetically celebrating the murder of nearly 3,000 people, proudly proclaiming to the world that this senseless tragedy was justified and America deserved to be attacked, boldly threatening more attacks of similar magnitude, and working to drive more fighters to join al-Qaida's deadly mission,” prosecutors said.

“A sentence of life imprisonment is the only appropriate sentence in this case,” they added.

Stanley Cohen, a lawyer for Abu Ghaith, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 23 before U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan.

FILE - This undated image made from video provided by by Al-Jazeera shows Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and spokesman.

FILE - This undated image made from video provided by by Al-Jazeera shows Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and spokesman.

Abu Ghaith's trial featured testimony from the defendant himself, and offered a glimpse into bin Laden's activity shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The attackers flew two hijacked planes into the World Trade Center in New York and a third plane into the Pentagon outside Washington. A fourth hijacked plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field after passengers revolted.

U.S. forces in Pakistan killed bin Laden in May 2011.

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