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Bin Laden son-in-law's trial in New York reignites Guantánamo debate

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, is charged with conspiring to kill US nationals and will be tried in a civilian court in New York. Some say he should be sent to Gitmo.

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An artist sketch shows Suleiman Abu Ghaith, a militant who appeared in videos as a spokesman for Al Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks, appearing at the US District Court in Manhattan Friday. Abu Ghaith, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden and one of the highest-ranking Al Qaeda figures to be brought to the United States to face a civilian trial, pleaded not guilty on Friday to a charge of conspiracy to kill Americans.

Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

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Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring to kill US citizens in an arraignment in a New York federal courtroom Friday morning, an appearance that has revived controversy over whether terror suspects should be tried in civilian or military courts.

According to the Department of Justice, Mr. Abu Ghaith was the spokesman for Al Qaeda and a top propagandist in the terror network who appeared in two videos, one alongside Mr. bin Laden, lauding the 9/11 attacks and promising there would be more. As such, his appearance Friday in federal court makes him one of the highest-ranking Al Qaeda officials to face civilian trial on US soil.

In an indictment released Thursday, Abu Ghaith was charged with one count of conspiring to kill US nationals. If convicted, he faces life in prison. 

“Among other things, Abu Ghaith urged others to swear allegiance to bin Laden, spoke on behalf of and in support of al Qaeda's mission, and warned that attacks similar to those of September 11, 2001 would continue,” according to the indictment.

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