Trial of Osama's Son-in-Law Will Be on US Soil, a Rarity

al-Qaeda operatives usually held overseas

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Mar 7, 2013 6:48 PM CST

(Newser) – Osama bin Laden's son-in-law was charged today with conspiring to kill Americans in his role as al-Qaeda's top propagandist. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, who was captured in the Middle East last week, will appear tomorrow in US federal court in New York. His trial will mark one of the first prosecutions of senior al-Qaeda leaders on US soil. The case marks a legal victory for the Obama administration, which has long sought to charge senior al-Qaeda suspects in American federal courts instead of holding them at the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay. But it immediately sparked an outcry from Republicans in Congress who do not want high-threat terror suspects brought into the United States.

"If this man, the spokesman of 9/11, isn't an enemy combatant, who is?" Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters. Abu Ghaith "should be going to Gitmo. He should be kept there and questioned." The Justice Department said Abu Ghaith was indeed the spokesman for al-Qaeda, working alongside bin Laden and current leader Ayman al-Zawahri, since at least May 2001. The day after the 9/11 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.

This image made available by Al-Jazeera shows Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law.
This image made available by Al-Jazeera shows Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law.   (AP Photo/Al-Jazeera)
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