Accused aide to bin Laden opposed calls for violence, jury told

By REUTERS
February 20, 2015 01:08

 
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A lawyer for a Saudi man accused by US prosecutors of acting as Osama bin Laden's lieutenant argued at the close of his trial on Thursday that he was a peaceful dissident who found the al-Qaida leader's violent ideology abhorrent.

Khalid al-Fawwaz is charged with participating in several al-Qaida conspiracies, including one that resulted in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people, but he is not accused of planning the attacks.

Instead, the government has said he provided crucial groundwork that facilitated the plot, such as sending equipment to al Qaeda members and functioning as bin Laden's "man in London."

Defense lawyer Bobbi Sternheim told jurors in federal court in Manhattan that the government was trying to make al-Fawwaz guilty by association.

"This case seemed like it was the United States against Osama bin Laden," she said in closing arguments at the month-long trial.
Sternheim said al-Fawwaz was a dissident who worked with bin Laden in the early 1990s to press for reforms in their native Saudi Arabia but turned away from him when he declared war on the United States.

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