[QODLink]
Americas

Bin Laden son-in-law 'had no military role'

Alleged mastermind of September 11 attacks says Sulaiman Abu Ghaith served as spokesman and was not a "military man".

Last updated: 17 Mar 2014 08:46
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Abu Ghaith is the highest-level al-Qaeda figure to be tried in the US since the September 11, 2011 attacks [Reuters]

The alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks in the US says Osama bin Laden's son-in-law Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, who is on trial in New York, had no role in planning military operations for al-Qaeda.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said in a statement filed in Manhattan federal court late on Sunday that Abu Ghaith served as an al-Qaeda spokesman because he was "an eloquent, spellbinding speaker".

But Mohammed said Abu Ghaith, 48,  "was not a military man and had nothing to do with military operations".

Mohammed said al-Qaeda's media officials may not necessary know about upcoming military operations [AP]

Abu Ghaith is charged with conspiring to kill Americans. He is the highest-level al-Qaeda figure to be tried in the US since the September 11, 2011 attacks.

Prosecutors say he was part of al-Qaeda's deadly plot in his role as spokesman in fiery videos and as a motivational speaker at the group's training camps in Afghanistan.

Abu Ghaith's lawyers have said the Kuwait-born imam made inflammatory remarks but did not conspire to carry out terrorism.

Defence lawyers are seeking to use testimony from Mohammed, who is being held at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They would need US District Judge Lewis A Kaplan's approval to introduce the information.

"Mr Mohammed is unavailable to physically appear at trial, and his testimony is necessary to prevent a failure of justice in this matter," the lawyers, led by Stanley Cohen, wrote to the judge.

The defence has suggested Mohammed could help rebut the government's claim that Abu Ghaith must have known in advance of al-Qaeda's so-called shoe bomb airplane plots, including Richard Reid's attempt to carry one out in December 2001.

The statement from Mohammed filed on Sunday consisted of answers he gave to questions posed by Abu Ghaith's lawyers.

In the statement, Mohammed said he never spoke with Abu Ghaith about the shoe bomb operation. He added: "Those tasked with giving statements to the media do not necessarily know all the details of an operation and are sometimes even unaware of the very existence of the operation."

Prosecutors rested their case on Friday in the trial of Abu Ghaith. The defence case is due to start on Monday.

390

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.