NEW YORK - Suleiman Abu Ghaith, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday in New York following his conviction on terrorism charges.
A Manhattan federal jury in March found the Kuwaiti-born 48-year-old guilty of conspiring to kill Americans, conspiring to provide material support for terrorists and providing such support.
US District Judge Lewis Kaplan imposed the sentence a few minutes after a seemingly unrepentant Abu Ghaith delivered a statement in Arabic, quoting the Koran and declaring that he would not ask for mercy from anyone but God.
"Today, at the same moment when you are shackling my hands and intend to bury me alive, you are at the same time unleashing the hands of hundreds of Muslim youths," he said through an interpreter. "And they will join the rally of the free man."
In response, Kaplan noted that Abu Ghaith had expressed no remorse for his actions and cited a video in which Abu Ghaith appeared amused by al-Qaida's attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people in the United States.
"You, sir, in my assessment, are committed to doing everything you can to assist al-Qaida in its mission to kill Americans," Kaplan said.
Prosecutors had painted Abu Ghaith as a charismatic spokesman for al Qaeda in the days and weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, saying he recorded inflammatory videos the group could use to recruit new members.
The government also contended that one October 2001 video, in which Abu Ghaith promised the "storm of airplanes will not stop," indicated he knew beforehand of an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to detonate a shoe bomb aboard a jetliner in December 2001 by Briton Richard Reid.
Lawyers for Abu Ghaith argued that their client was guilty only of delivering fiery speeches and had no knowledge in advance of any al-Qaida plots.