Alleged senior al Qaeda spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith has pleaded not guilty on charges of conspiracy to kill Americans. Ghaith is the son-in-law of deceased al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, an alleged al Qaeda spokesman, pled not guilty to terrorism charges before a court in New York City on Friday
Initial reports indicated that Turkish officials had deported Ghaith to Jordan recently, where the FBI in coordination with Jordanian officials took him into custody and transported him to the United States.
The US Department of Justice released a statement Thursday detailing the indictment against the 47-year-old Kuwaiti.
"Abu Ghaith urged others to swear allegiance to bin Laden, spoke on behalf of and in support of al Qaeda's mission, and warned that attacks similar to those of September 11, 2001 would continue," the indictment said.
The formal accusations charge him with involvement in a conspiracy that "would and did murder United States nationals anywhere in the world."
Ghaith's arraignment in the US marks a victory for the Obama administration, which has met with difficulties in its attempts to move trials away from the controversial detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Republicans in particular have favored military courts outside of the US for terrorism trials.
Despite the waning popularity of al Qaeda among Muslims worldwide in bin Laden's final years - according to data published by the Pew Research Global Attitudes Project one year after his assassination - Ghaith was still considered a security threat.
As a senior al Qaeda leader, he was "capable of getting the old band back together and postured for a round of real serious international terror," National Defense University research fellow Tom Lynch told the Associated Press.
"His capture and extradition not only allows the U.S. to hold - and perhaps try - a reputed al Qaeda core survivor, further tarnishing the [al Qaeda] core brand, but it also points to the dangers for those few remaining al Qaeda core refugees," Lynch said.
US officials have been trying to bring anti-US conspirators linked to al Qaeda to justice since the September 11 attacks.
"No amount of distance or time will weaken our resolve to bring America's enemies to justice," US Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement on Thursday.
kms/lw (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)