Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, who authorities say was a spokesman and top adviser for al-Qaida, has been arrested overseas and is charged in New York with conspiracy to kill Americans, officials said.
Bin Laden Son-in-Law, Al-Qaida Spokesman, Charged in NYC
Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, who authorities say was a spokesman and top adviser for al-Qaida, has been arrested overseas and is charged in New York with conspiracy to kill Americans, officials said. Jonathan Dienst reports. (Published Thursday, March 7, 2013)
Updated at 9:13 PM PDT on Thursday, Mar 7, 2013
Sulaiman Abu Gheith is expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan Friday.
Abu Gheith was seen on video shortly after 9/11 with bin Laden as the terror leader claimed responsibility for the attacks. Federal prosecutors say he held a key advisory position in the terror organization, serving alongside bin Laden from at least May 2001 through 2002.
They say Abu Gheith in May 2001 urged followers at a house in Kandahar to swear allegiance to bin Laden, and appeared with the terror leader the day after the 9/11 attacks to call upon "the nation of Islam" to do battle against "the Jews, the Christians and the Americans."
“He used his position to persuade others to swear loyalty to al-Qaida’s murderous cause," said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos. "He used his position to threaten the United States and incite its enemies.”
Rep. Peter King praised the CIA and FBI for the terror suspect's arrest.
"The propaganda statements in which Abu Gheith and his late father-in-law, Osama bin Laden, praised the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 are alone enough to merit the most serious punishment," King said.
In the al-Qaida video that aired in October 2001, Abu Gheith said, "Americans should know the storm of planes will not stop."
Federal prosecutors said he was smuggled from Afghanistan into Iran in 2002.
Sources tell NBC News he was initially taken into custody by Turkish authorities last month in Ankara where a Turkish court ruled that he had illegally entered the country with a fake passport.
The Turkish government then deported Abu Gheith to Kuwait, his birthplace, but arranged for him to transit through Jordan where he was ultimately taken into custody by the U.S.