A son-in-law of Osama Bin Laden [WP obituary; JURIST news archive] pleaded not guilty on Friday in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] to conspiracy to kill US citizens [indictment, PDF]. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith appeared before Judge Lewis Kaplan, briefly answering questions [NYT report] during his 20-minute arraignment. The indictment alleges that Abu Ghaith, who served as a former spokesman for al Qaeda, worked closely with Bin Laden. In a statement [press release] made prior to Abu Ghaith's court appearance on Friday, Attorney General Eric Holder [official profile] stated:
No amount of distance or time will weaken our resolve to bring America's enemies to justice. To violent extremists who threaten the American people and seek to undermine our way of life, this arrest sends an unmistakable message: There is no corner of the world where you can escape from justice because we will do everything in our power to hold you accountable to the fullest extent of the law.Abu Ghaith's capture [JURIST report] reportedly occurred in Jordan while traveling from Turkey to his native Kuwait.
Many cases involving al Qaeda operatives are making their way through the US judicial system. In January the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the conspiracy conviction [JURIST report] of Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman Al Bahlul, the media secretary of Osama bin Laden. In October Egyptian-born Muslim cleric Abu Hamza Al Masri on pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to 11 criminal charges. His charges include taking hostages, providing material support to terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, and conspiring to do such acts. He made his first appearance in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York after being extradited from the UK. Osama Bin Laden was killed [JURIST report] by US military personnel in 2011.