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Federal judge rejects Bin-Laden son-in-law mistaken identity claim

Judge Lewis Kaplan of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] on Friday rejected a request by Suleiman Abu Ghaith, son-in-law of Osama bin-Laden [WP obituary; JURIST news archive], to delay his trial on the grounds that the government had confused him with a similarly-named detainee at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder]. Kaplan denied the request [Reuters report], stating that the trial will proceed as planned on Monday. Abu Ghaith faces terrorism charges [text; PDF] for his alleged involvement with Al-Qaeda and the September 11 terrorist attacks. The trial is expected to take several weeks.

Last month Kaplan allowed [JURIST report] Abu Ghaith's lawyers to submit questions to the self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], to determine if the defense will call him as a witness during the trial. Abu Ghaith's trial, originally scheduled for September, was delayed [JURIST report] last April due to the effects of the US budget sequestration. Abu Ghaith pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to charges of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens during his March 2013 arraignment. Abu Ghaith was captured the same month while he was reportedly travelling through Jordan on the way to his native Kuwait.

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