[JURIST] A former aide of Osama Bin Laden has been found guilty [opinion, text] on Thursday of plotting the 1998 al-Qaeda bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people. Extradited from the UK to the US in 2012, Saudi national Khalid Al-Fawwaz was convicted on four counts of conspiracy by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] after three days of jury deliberations, and now faces a possible life sentence. US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara [official profile] said Al-Fawwaz “played a critical role for al-Qaeda in its murderous conspiracy against America.” He also described Al-Fawwaz as one of Bin Laden’s “original and most trusted lieutenants” who was the leader of an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, then later acted as Bin Laden’s spokesperson in London. Al-Fawwaz was arrested in the UK in 1998, the same year as the bombings, but was not extradited to the US until 2012. His New York trial lasted a month [Reuters report] under heavy security in Manhattan. Al-Fawwaz did not testify.
Many cases involving al Qaeda operatives are making their way through the US judicial system. Alleged al Qaeda operative Abu Anas al Libi [JURIST report], accused of involvement in the bombings of US embassies in Africa and an alleged co-conspirator of Al Fawwaz, died in a US hospital in January. In June the Department of Defense approved [JURIST report] the war crimes trial of Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi [BBC profile], a former leader of al Qaeda’s army between 2002 and 2004, accused [charge sheet, PDF] of killing US service members and funding al Qaeda operations amongst other things. In March 2013 Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the son-in-law of Osama Bin Laden, was captured [JURIST report] and thereafter indicted in federal court for plotting to kill Americans. In January 2013 the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the conspiracy conviction [JURIST report] of Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman Al Bahlul, Osama bin Laden’s media secretary. In October 2012 Egyptian-born Muslim cleric Abu Hamza Al Masri pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to 11 criminal charges, including taking hostages, providing material support to terrorist groups and conspiracy.