Trials & Litigation

Bin Laden spokesman who talked of 9/11 attacks on video extradited to US

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A son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, who is accused of playing a major role in al-Qaida as a spokesman and propagandist, has reportedly been captured abroad and extradited to the U.S.

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is in federal custody in New York City and is expected to appear there at a Friday court hearing, according to the Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal (sub.req.).

It isn’t clear what charges he will face, but U.S. officials consider Abu Ghaith a key member of the core al-Qaida terrorist group once led by bin Laden that is believed to be responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He reportedly appeared on videos after 9/11 and both spoke in favor of the attacks and made additional threats.

U.S. officials said he was arrested in Jordan in a joint operation by Jordanian authorities and the FBI, after being picked up in Turkey and deported, Reuters reports. Like the AP and WSJ articles, the Reuters relies on unidentified sources.

Rep. Peter King, who is the ranking Republican member of the House intelligence committee and formerly served as chairman of its homeland security committee, confirmed the news.

“I commend our CIA and FBI, our allies in Jordan, and President Obama for their capture of al-Qaida spokesman Suleiman Abu Ghaith. I trust he received a vigorous interrogation and will face swift and certain justice,” King said in a written statement.

“Propaganda statements in which Abu Ghaith and his late father-in-law, Osama bin Laden, praised the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001 are alone enough to merit the most serious punishment.”

The Reuters article says it isn’t clear what the U.S. intends to do with Abu Ghaith.

However, according to the AP and the WSJ, he was brought to the U.S. last week and is expected to face a court proceeding.

An Agence France-Presse article published last month relied on local coverage in reporting that the U.S. had asked Turkey to extradite Abu Ghaith when he was picked up at an Ankara resort after the CIA tipped authorities there.

He was reportedly detained for allegedly entering Turkey illegally from Iran. Turkey considers Abu Ghaith a stateless person because he was stripped of Kuwaiti citizenship after appearing in videos defending the 9/11 attacks, AFP explains. Another AFP article published hours ago provides additional details.

The AP says Abu Ghaith was released by Turkish authorities, but the Wall Street Journal says he was deported to Kuwait from Turkey, via Jordan.

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Updated at 7:30 p.m. to link to related coverage.

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