Bin Laden aide Sulaiman Abu Ghaith pleads not guilty

  • The man believed to be a spokesman for Osama Bin Laden pleaded not guilty in a New York court on Friday to charges he helped plot the 9/11 attacks.

    Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, 47, was turned over to U.S. authorities in Jordan last week while travelling to Kuwait.

    Abu Ghaith, a Kuwaiti preacher, is Bin Laden's son-in-law.

    He is being tried in a civilian court; a decision made by the Obama administration and one that has been criticized by Republicans.

    They believe Abu Ghaith should face a military tribunal at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    In a federal courtroom in lower Manhattan, around half a mile from the site of the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, prosecutor John Cronan said Abu Ghaith had given an "extensive post-arrest statement".

    According to court filings, Abu Ghaith served alongside Bin Laden from May 2001 to 2002, speaking on behalf of al-Qaeda.

    A day after the 9/11 attacks, he appeared with Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri to warn the United States that a "great army is gathering against you", calling upon "the nation of Islam" to do battle against "the Jews, the Christians and the Americans".

    U.S. commandos killed Bin Laden in a May 2011 raid on his hideout in Pakistan.

    A trial is set to begin on April 8 and is expected to last about three weeks.

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