News / USA

Bin Laden Son-in-Law Gives Unexpected US Trial Testimony

FILE - Undated video screengrab provided by Al-Jazeera shows Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and spokesman.
FILE - Undated video screengrab provided by Al-Jazeera shows Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and spokesman.
Reuters
Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, unexpectedly testified on Wednesday at his trial on terrorism-related charges and denied that he had any role in al-Qaida plots against the United States.

Abu Ghaith, 48, is one of the highest profile people with purported links to al-Qaida to be tried in a U.S. civilian court. Prosecutors in federal court in New York have accused him of serving as a spokesman and recruiter for al-Qaida and of knowing about planned attacks against Americans.

Under questioning from his lawyer, Stanley Cohen, Abu Ghaith described meeting Osama bin Laden, a founder of al-Qaida, in Afghanistan just hours after the hijacked plane attacks of Sept.11, 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

After driving several hours into the mountains, Abu Ghaith said that he met bin Laden and several of his lieutenants, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian now considered al-Qaida's leader, inside a cave. Bin Laden was killed in May 2011 by U.S. forces at his hideout in Pakistan.

Abu Ghaith testified that bin Laden asked him if he had heard about the attacks. Abu Ghaith said he first learned about the attacks from news reports.

"We are the ones who did it," bin Laden said, according to Abu Ghaith. "What do you expect to happen?"

Abu Ghaith, who was speaking through an interpreter, said he predicted that the United States would not rest until it had accomplished two things: killing bin Laden, and toppling the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

"He said, 'You are being too pessimistic,'" Abu Ghaith told jurors.

He acknowledged making several videos at bin Laden's request, including one in which he warned that a "storm of airplanes" was coming, but denied that he had any advance knowledge of other plots, such as the shoe bomb that Briton Richard Reid attempted to detonate aboard an airplane in 2002.

Instead, he said, bin Laden asked him to deliver a "message to the world" in his role as a speaker and an imam. His speeches were based on talking points that bin Laden gave him, he said.

He also claimed that some videos were an attempt to counter the propaganda against Muslims from the United States.

"My intention was not to recruit anyone," he said. "My intention was to deliver a message, a message I believed in, that oppression, if it befalls any nation, any people, any category of people, that category must revolt. What happened was a natural result of the oppression that befell Muslims."

Abu Ghaith also said he never became a member of al-Qaida. A teacher and imam in Kuwait, Abu Ghaith said he traveled to Afghanistan for the first time in June 2001 to learn about the newly installed Taliban.

While there, he received a message from bin Laden asking for a meeting. Despite knowing that bin Laden was suspected of planning the attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998 and the suicide bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, he said he agreed.

"I wanted to see what he had, what it is that he wanted," he said.

"Did you ever discuss terrorist attacks?" Cohen asked.

"No," Abu Ghaith said. "Not at all."

Abu Ghaith said that before Sept. 11, 2001, his contribution to bin Laden's organization consisted of giving religious speeches to fighters at training camps in Afghanistan.

Bin Laden, he said, told him that the camps were a "hard life," full of "weapons, training, roughness." He asked him to speak to the men to give them "merciful hearts."

Abu Ghaith's decision to testify came a day after U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that jurors would not hear testimony from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mohammed is being held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Abu Ghaith said on Wednesday that he met Mohammed while in Afghanistan but that they did not discuss any planned attacks.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer 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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
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.

VOA Blogs