News / USA

Bin Laden Relative Pleads Not Guilty

An artist sketch shows Suleiman Abu Ghaith, a militant who appeared in videos as a spokesman for al Qaeda after the September 11, 2001 attacks, appearing at the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, March 8, 2013.
An artist sketch shows Suleiman Abu Ghaith, a militant who appeared in videos as a spokesman for al Qaeda after the September 11, 2001 attacks, appearing at the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, March 8, 2013.
Larry Freund
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, former al-Qaida spokesman and a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, pleaded not guilty in New York Friday to U.S. terror charges that he conspired to kill Americans by urging others to support al-Qaida and swear an oath of allegiance to bin Laden, its leader.
Judge Lewis Kaplan ordered another hearing for Abu Ghaith, who is also charged with speaking on behalf of al-Qaida, on April 8, when the judge said he hoped to set a trial date.
During Abu Ghaith’s first court appearance, prosecutor John Cronan said the evidence against the defendant includes an extensive statement that Abu Ghaith made after his arrest. The prosecutor did not provide further details about the statement, but he said other evidence will include transcripts of audio tapes translated from Arabic to English.
Abu Ghaith was brought into the courtroom with his hands cuffed behind his back. A court officer removed the handcuffs until the 15-minute hearing was concluded and Abu Ghaith was escorted from the courtroom.
Judge Kaplan advised Abu Ghaith of his rights under U.S. law, including his right to remain silent and his right to a court-appointed attorney if he could not afford one. Abu Ghaith said he could not afford his own lawyer, and the judge appointed three attorneys, including Philip Weinstein, who told the judge he had already met with the accused terrorist several times before the hearing.
Abu Ghaith was reportedly arrested in Turkey, then brought to Jordan where he was taken into custody by U.S. officials. He was flown to the New York City area, according to prosecutors, on March 1.
The announcement by the United States that Abu Ghaith would appear in a U.S. court was quickly challenged by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who argued that Abu Ghaith should have been taken to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba for questioning.
“This administration seems adverse to the idea of treating future captures like this as enemy combatants," said Graham. "By taking that option off the table, you’re putting people like this into federal court, giving them the same constitutional rights as an American citizen, but more than anything else you’re destroying the ability to hold them under the law of war for intelligence-gathering purposes.”
In contrast, Human Rights Watch spokesperson Laura Pitter says the United States has successfully prosecuted hundreds of terrorism cases in federal courts and they should prosecute this one in federal court as well.
“The federal courts have been trying these cases for years," she said. "It’s the correct venue for terrorism cases and the administration should continue to try the terrorism cases in federal court. I think there is some sort of gut reaction from some people that they feel as though they need to be treated differently, but in the United States, even the worst of the worst are tried in a fair system, and that system is the U.S. federal court system.”
Abu Ghaith is married to bin Laden's daughter, Fatima. He is the closest relative of bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people, to face trial in the U.S.
In the indictment against him, the U.S. accuses Abu Ghaith of celebrating the 2001 attacks in videos and on Internet sites, while warning that al-Qaida was entitled to kill millions more Americans. Prosecutors say that on the day after the attacks, he urged the "nation of Islam" to war against Jews, Christians and Americans.
A Turkish newspaper reported that Abu Ghaith was seized at a luxury hotel in the capital, Ankara. Sources said he was then deported to Jordan, where U.S. intelligence agents took him into custody. Turkish officials refused to comment on the report.
Attorney General Eric Holder said the arrest shows U.S. resolve to bring to justice those responsible for the 2001 attacks.
If convicted of the U.S. charges, Abu Ghaith could face life imprisonment.

You May Like

Afghanistan, Pakistan Leaders to Hold Icebreaking Talks in Paris

Two sides are expected to discuss ways to ease bilateral tensions and jointly work for resumption of stalled peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban officials

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs