US jails ex-Bin Laden aide to life for embassy attacks

Khaled al-Fawwaz, an aide to the former al-Qaeda leader, describes remorse as court sentences him to life in prison.

    Fawwaz said he was 'terribly sad and sorry' and that he did not support violence [AP]
    Fawwaz said he was 'terribly sad and sorry' and that he did not support violence [AP]

    A former aide to Osama bin Laden has been sentenced to life in prison by a court in the US for conspiring in the deadly 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa.

    Judge Lewis Kaplan said on Friday that Khaled al-Fawwaz was an eager supporter of bin Laden's goals even before the attacks in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people, including a dozen US citizens.

    Fawwaz turned toward victims of the bombings and spoke of his remorse minutes before his sentence was announced.

    "I can't find words to describe how terribly sad and sorry I am," Fawwaz said.

    "I don't support violence...I hope one day people will find other ways to live with their differences other than violence."

    Kaplan announced Fawwaz's sentence after three victims spoke, including Ellen Karas, who was left blind by the attacks, the Associated Press news agency reported.

    "I worship the same God as you," she told the defendant. "But he is not an angry God. He is not a vengeful God."

    Fawwaz lawyer had asked that he be sentenced to less than life in prison, saying he was less culpable than others.

    Al-Qaeda 'number nine'

    In court papers, prosecutors said they proved at trial that Fawwaz was an al-Qaeda leader who directed a military training camp in Afghanistan in 1991, led a terror cell in Kenya in 1993 and ensured bin Laden's 1996 declaration of war against the US reached the world.

    Prosecuting lawyers told jurors that Fawwaz was Number nine on a list of al-Qaeda members that was recovered by U.S. special forces from an al-Qaeda leader's home after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.

    Buckley said at sentencing that Fawwaz was the last of the men who had been arrested in the case to face trial.

    Saudi Arabia-born Fawwaz was arrested in London weeks after the August 1998 attacks at the request of the US but was not extradited from the UK until 2012.

    He had been scheduled to stand trial with Abu Anas al-Libi, who was snatched off the streets of Libya in 2013, but al-Libi died in January after a long illness.

    Another co-defendant, Egyptian lawyer Adel Abdul Bary, was sentenced in February to 25 years in prison after he pleaded guilty in what Kaplan called an "enormously generous plea bargain" that will enable him to be freed in about eight years.

    SOURCE: AP


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