NEWYORK, Aug 26, (AP): Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law should be sentenced to life in prison for his role as al-Qaeda’s spokesman after the Sept 11 attacks, when he made “bone-chilling threats” against America, prosecutors said in court papers filed Monday.
The government said a life sentence for Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, whose words were “inciting, murderous, and hateful,” would send an important deterrent message to would-be terrorists. “Terrorism is a crime with high recidivism rates and rehabilitation is notoriously difficult,” prosecutors said.
The papers were filed in US District Court in Manhattan a month before a sentencing scheduled for Sept 23. Abu Ghaith’s defense lawyer, Stanley Cohen, had urged Judge Lewis A. Kaplan earlier this month to sentence his client to 15 years in prison, saying it was sufficient. Abu Ghaith was convicted in March of charges that included conspiracy to kill Americans and providing support to al-Qaeda.
Abu Ghaith is a Kuwaiti-born imam who married bin Laden’s eldest daughter about five years ago. He is the highest-ranking al-Qaeda figure brought to trial on US soil since the 2001 attacks. In their papers, prosecutors said Abu Ghaith “proudly sat at bin Laden’s right hand” after the Sept 11 attacks, repeatedly participating in videos aimed at recruiting more people to al- Qaeda. “Abu Ghayth repeatedly made unambiguous and bone-chilling threats that al- Qaeda would continue to conduct terrorist attacks using airplanes,” prosecutors wrote. “Simply put, the defendant eagerly supported al-Qaeda and its mass murder of Americans,” they said. “The significance of Abu Ghayth’s spoken words is unmistakable.
Inspirational and charismatic speakers like Abu Ghayth allow al- Qaeda to refill its ranks of suicide operatives by driving more future terrorists to al-Qaeda’s murderous mission.