Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the son-in-law of Osama Bin Laden [WP obituary; JURIST news archive], has been captured and will be appear in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] on Friday to face federal charges. He is accused of plotting to kill Americans [press release]. Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco said, "The arrest of Abu Ghayth is an important milestone in our ongoing counterterrorism efforts. I applaud the many agents, analysts and prosecutors responsible for bringing about this significant case and arrest." Abu Ghaith once served as a spokesperson for al Qaeda. Although he is not accused of involvement in the September 11 attacks, he did defend the attacks [NYT report] in statements to Al Jazeera. FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos said:
Abu Ghaith held a key position in al Qaeda, comparable to the consigliere in a mob family or propaganda minister in a totalitarian regime. He used his position to persuade others to swear loyalty to al Qaeda's murderous cause. He used his position to threaten the United States and incite its enemies. His apprehension is another important step in the campaign to limit the reach of al Qaeda and enhance our national and international security.Abu Ghaith's capture reportedly occurred when he was transiting through Jordan while traveling from Turkey to his native country Kuwait.
Many cases involving al Qaeda operatives are making their way through the US judicial system. In January, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the conspiracy conviction [JURIST report] of Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman Al Bahlul, the media secretary of Osama bin Laden. In October, Egyptian-born Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri on pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to 11 criminal charges. His charges include taking hostages, providing material support to terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, and conspiring do such acts. He made his first appearance in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on after being extradited from the UK. Osama Bin Laden was killed [JURIST report] by US military personnel in 2011.