Date
17 August 2017
A section of the US embassy in the Kenyan capital Nairobi lies in ruins after the 1998 bombing. More than 200 people were killed after al Qaeda attacked the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Photo: Internet
A section of the US embassy in the Kenyan capital Nairobi lies in ruins after the 1998 bombing. More than 200 people were killed after al Qaeda attacked the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Photo: Internet

Saudi convicted over 1998 US embassy bombings in Africa

A Saudi man described as a trusted lieutenant of Osama bin Laden has been convicted for the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Khalid al-Fawwaz, 52, faces up to life in prison after a jury convicted him on four counts of conspiracy.

The verdict in a federal court in New York was the 10th conviction at trial or via a guilty plea of a defendant tied to the bombings, which killed 224 people and injured more than 4,000, Reuters reported Friday, citing United States Attorney Preet Bharara.

“We hope this verdict gives some comfort to al Qaeda’s victims around the world,” Bharara said in a statement.

Al-Fawwaz was not charged with planning the attacks but prosecutors said he served as a key bin Laden associate while living in London, disseminating the al Qaeda leader’s declarations of war to the media and sending equipment to al Qaeda members in Africa.

Al-Fawwaz was also accused of operating an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in the early 1990s and helping lead an al Qaeda cell in the Kenyan capital Nairobi that later conducted surveillance before the embassy bombing there.

A defense attorney, Bobbi Sternheim, said al-Fawwaz would appeal.

“Trying a pre-9/11 case in a post-9/11 era within blocks of the World Trade Center insured Al-Fawwaz would never receive a fair trial from an impartial jury,” she said, referring to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in downtown Manhattan.

Al-Fawwaz’s attorneys painted their client as a peaceful dissident who shared with bin Laden a desire to effect reform in their native Saudi Arabia but turned away from him when he began calling for violence against US civilians.

Prosecutors, however, said al-Fawwaz did whatever was asked of him to help advance al Qaeda’s mission.

The trial featured testimony from several victims of the bombings. A number of other victims watched some of the trial from the courtroom gallery.

Al-Fawwaz was arrested in London in 1998 and extradited to the US in 2012 after a lengthy legal battle.

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CG/RA

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