News / USA

Terror Trial for Bin Laden Son-In-Law Opens in New York

FILE -  Suleiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and spokesman.
FILE - Suleiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and spokesman.
Carolyn Weaver
Federal prosecutors in New York say that Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, a Kuwaiti imam known for his fiery preaching, moved to Afghanistan in spring 2001 to join Osama bin Laden's inner circle.  He visited terror training camps there, they said, to rally fighters.

Hours after the September 11 terror attacks, they say, he appeared next to Osama bin Laden in a video that celebrated the attacks and urged Muslims around the world to pick up arms to fight "the friends of Satan."

Over the next year, said prosecutor Nicholas Lewin, Abu Ghaith made more videos seeking new recruits for al-Qaida - its "lifeblood" - and threatening further attacks, including what he called a "storm of airplanes," against Britain and the United States.

Abu Ghaith, who is married to the eldest daughter of Osama bin Laden, Fatima, is charged with conspiring to kill Americans and providing material support to al-Qaida.  He faces life in prison if convicted.
                                                             
Abu Ghaith's defense attorneys say the case is only about words and associations.  Attorney Stanley Cohen called Abu Ghaith a "Muslim, an Arab, a husband, and a father."  He added that while the defendant had said "terrible" things that would outrage the jury, the only correct verdict was not guilty.

Karen Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security, said attorneys on both sides had agreed not to mention that Abu Ghaith was a son-in-law of bin Laden.    

"Part of this is going to hinge on how close he was to bin Laden, which is what the prosecution opened with today, and so having that taken away, it's one piece of how close he was to Bin Laden," she said.

Abu Ghaith, who pleaded not guilty a year ago, is not accused of involvement or advance knowledge in the September 11 attacks.  Defense lawyers have said they may seek testimony by the self-admitted plotter of the attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is being held in the prison at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo, Cuba, to vouch that Abu Ghaith was not an al-Qaida operative.

Abu Ghaith was brought to New York from Jordan last year, after having lived in Iran for much of the last decade. Prosecutors plan to play for jurors a confession he reportedly made on the flight, but defense attorney Cohen has said the statement was made only after Abu Ghaith "was subjected to a variety of deprivation techniques and harsh treatment which constitute torture."

The jury of nine women and three men will also hear testimony from two cooperating witnesses, including a British man, Saajid Badat, who will testify in a video feed about plotting with "shoe bomber" Richard Reid.  Reid's failed attempt came several weeks after Abu Ghaith made a video saying,"We strongly advise Muslims in America and Britain not to board airplanes," prosecutors said.

The other is a man who will testify about hearing Abu Ghaith call for jihad in Afghanistan.  Officials say he is the highest-ranking bin Laden associate yet to be tried in the U.S.

You May Like

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurdish Leader: Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid