U.S. says Saudi was bin Laden's 'man in London'

Reuters News
|
Posted: Feb 18, 2015 5:27 PM

By David Ingram

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. prosecutor asked a jury on Wednesday to find a Saudi man guilty of conspiring with al Qaeda in the 1990s when he allegedly managed a training camp in Afghanistan and then served as Osama bin Laden's agent in London.

Near the end of a month-long trial of Khalid al-Fawwaz, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Buckley told jurors in a closing argument that they had seen enough evidence to convict al-Fawwaz of four terrorism counts.

"Khalid al-Fawwaz did everything that al Qaeda asked of him," Buckley said in Manhattan federal court. As al-Fawwaz looked on, Buckley called him bin Laden's "man in London."

The charges include participating in al Qaeda's years-long conspiracy to kill Americans.

Al-Fawwaz is not charged with any killings, but prosecutors say he provided crucial support that laid the groundwork for attacks such as the 1998 bombings at the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Those bombings killed 224 people and wounded thousands more.

In 1998, al-Fawwaz helped to draft an al Qaeda declaration calling for the deaths of American civilians, Buckley said, citing what he said were wiretapped phone conversations from the time.

Al-Fawwaz's defense lawyers, who are scheduled to give a closing argument on Thursday, have previously described him as a peaceful dissident who abhorred violence as a means to achieve political ends.

His lawyers have also questioned the strength of the government's evidence, such as an alleged al Qaeda membership list that U.S. soldiers found in Afghanistan. Prosecutors say one name on the list was a pseudonym for al-Fawwaz.

Al-Fawwaz, 52, was arrested in 1998 in London and brought to the United States in 2012 after a lengthy extradition fight. He could be sentenced to life in sentence if convicted.

The jury would begin deliberations on Monday under a schedule laid out by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan.

(Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)