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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs