US captures bin Laden son-in-law after decade
Significant: Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Kelly Ayotte announce the capture of Suleiman Abu Ghaith to the press in Washington. Photo: AP
New York: Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, captured as he sought to travel from Jordan to Kuwait, was due to be arraigned in New York on Friday on charges of conspiring to kill Americans.
The indictment against Suleiman Abu Ghaith was unsealed on Thursday, according to US Attorney-General Eric Holder.
The capture of Mr Abu Ghaith, which came after a decade-long manhunt, was reported on Thursday by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.
Due to be arraigned: Suleiman Abu Ghaith. Photo: Reuters
Mr Abu Ghaith allegedly helped plan al-Qaeda's September 11, 2001, attacks in the US and has been among the group's most influential surviving leaders since US Navy SEALs killed bin Laden in May 2011.
Mr Holder described Mr Abu Ghaith's capture as an ''important milestone'' in counter-terrorism efforts.
He is expected to be arraigned on Friday before Judge Lewis Kaplan in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
"No amount of distance or time will weaken our resolve": Eric Holder, US Attorney-General Photo: Getty Images
''No amount of distance or time will weaken our resolve to bring America's enemies to justice,'' Mr Holder said.
''To violent extremists who threaten the American people and seek to undermine our way of life, this arrest sends an unmistakable message: There is no corner of the world where you can escape from justice because we will do everything in our power to hold you accountable to the fullest extent of the law.''
Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI's New York Field Office George Venizelos said Mr Abu Ghaith held a ''key position in al-Qaeda, comparable to the consigliere in a mob family or propaganda minister in a totalitarian regime''.
''He used his position to persuade others to swear loyalty to al-Qaeda's murderous cause,'' Mr Venizelos said. ''He used his position to threaten the US and incite its enemies.''
A retired US Army colonel who is a senior research fellow at the National Defence University, Thomas Lynch, said his capture and extradition not only allowed the US to hold - and perhaps try - a reputed al-Qaeda core survivor, further tarnishing the al-Qaeda core ''brand'', but also ''points to the dangers for those few remaining al-Qaeda core refugees''. Turkish authorities, acting on information from the CIA, first seized Mr Abu Ghaith more than a month ago at a hotel in Ankara, the Turkish capital, US congressional and intelligence officials said.
A Turkish court subsequently rejected a US request for his extradition and released him on the grounds that he hadn't been charged with committing any crime in Turkey.
CIA officers located him after he arrived in Ankara with an Iranian passport and he asked Saudi Arabian diplomats to help his wife and children go to their country, US officials said. His wife is a Saudi citizen. He was seized when he tried to travel to Kuwait from Jordan, a country with which the US maintains close ties.