Bin Laden son-in-law found guilty on US terror charges

Bin Laden son-in-law found guilty on US terror charges
This image taken June 23, 2002 from the Qatar-based al-Jazeera satellite television channel shows a photo of Suleiman Abu Ghaith.

NEW YORK - A New York jury on Wednesday found Osama bin Laden's son-in-law guilty of conspiracy to kill Americans and supporting terrorists as an impassioned Al-Qaeda spokesman in 2001-2002.

Suleiman Abu Ghaith, 48, now faces life in a maximum security American prison after a three-week trial, which has been the highest-profile Al-Qaeda case to reach a US federal court.

The preacher from Kuwait stood impassively as the court clerk read out the verdict, declaring him guilty of conspiracy to kill Americans, conspiracy to provide material support and providing material support to terrorists.

The convict is most famous for sitting next to bin Laden in a video on September 12, 2001 as the Al-Qaeda mastermind claimed the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people the day before.

Prosecutors said the first thing bin Laden did after the hijackings was recruit the talented, respected orator to take Al-Qaeda propaganda global as the Twin Towers lay smoldering.

In videos, Abu Ghaith threatened a "storm of airplanes," proof the government said that he was implicated in a December 2001 plot to blow up a transatlantic flight with a shoe bomb.

Terror cases in civilian courts

The 12-person jury took just four hours of deliberations to return the unanimous verdict. Afterwards, Abu Ghaith touched his heart in thanks, smiling at his lawyers.

Wearing his habitual dark suit, with open-necked white shirt, he appeared relaxed despite having pleaded innocent.

The government and campaigners seized on the trial as proof that terror cases could be tried more effectively in civilian courts as pressure builds to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

"This outcome vindicates the government's approach to securing convictions against not only this particular defendant, but also other senior leaders of Al-Qaeda," said US Attorney General Eric Holder.

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