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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs