independent

Friday 25 April 2014

Trial date for bin Laden son-in-law

A date has been set for the trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law (AP/Al-Jazeera)

Osama bin Laden's son-in-law will go on trial next year, charged with conspiring to kill Americans in his role as al Qaida's chief spokesman.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan announced the January 7 date for Sulaiman Abu Ghaith in a one-sentence order.

Judge Kaplan said he had hoped to start the trial as early as this autumn until a public defender complained at a hearing on Monday that across-the-board budget cuts, known as sequestration, would force some lawyers to be put on leave for more than five weeks, making it impossible to prepare for trial quickly.

The judge said he found it "extremely troublesome" and "stunning" that sequestration was interfering with the prosecution.

Abu Ghaith, who has pleaded not guilty, was brought to the United States last month to face charges that he urged the death of Americans after the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks.

His lawyers say they intend to file several pretrial motions challenging the prosecution, including requests that the trial be moved away from a courthouse several blocks from the World Trade Centre complex and that a lengthy statement Abu Ghaith provided to US authorities be suppressed.

Prosecutors say evidence against Abu Ghaith includes a widely-circulated video of him in early October 2001 sitting with bin Laden and current al Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri and another in which he calls on every Muslim to join the fight against the United States, declaring that "jihad is a duty".

Press Association

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