NEW YORK (AP) — A senior al-Qaida leader and member of Osama bin Laden‘s inner circle was due in court to face a charge he plotted against Americans in his role as the terror network’s top propagandist who lauded the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and warned there would be more.
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, who was born in Kuwait and was bin Laden’s son-in-law, was captured in Jordan over the last week, authorities said.
Abu Ghaith was to appear Friday morning in federal court in Manhattan to enter a plea to one count of conspiracy to kill Americans. There was no immediate response to phone and email messages left with his attorney.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced the capture of the international fugitive on Thursday, saying “no amount of distance or time will weaken our resolve to bring America’s enemies to justice.”
The case marks a legal victory for President Barack Obama’s administration, which has long sought to charge senior al-Qaida suspects in American federal courts instead of military tribunals at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But it runs counter to demands by Republicans in Congress who do not want high-threat terror suspects brought into the United States.
The Department of Justice said Abu Ghaith was the spokesman for al-Qaida, working alongside bin Laden and current leader Ayman al-Zawahri, since at least May 2001. Abu Ghaith is a former mosque preacher and teacher.
The day after the Sept. 11 attacks, prosecutors say, he appeared with bin Laden and al-Zawahri and called on the “nation of Islam” to battle against Jews, Christians and Americans.