Abu Ghaith, A Son-in-law to UBL (rahimahuLlah)

A man accused of being al-Qaeda’s spokesman after the 9/11 attacks on the US has taken the stand in his own defence at his trial in New York City.

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, 48, is Osama Bin Laden’s son-in-law.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges he conspired to kill Americans, and his defence lawyers say he had no advance knowledge of the attacks.

The case is one of the highest-profile terrorism trials in a US civilian court.

On Wednesday, speaking through an interpreter Mr Abu Ghaith testified he travelled to Afghanistan in June 2001 because he had a “serious desire to get to know the new Islamic government” there.

At the time, Afghanistan was nominally controlled by the Taliban Islamist militia.

‘Our buildings burned’

Despite knowing Bin Laden was suspected in terrorist attacks, Abu Ghaith said he heeded the al-Qaeda leader’s summons while in the country.

“I wanted to see what he had, what is it he wanted,” he said.

Mr Abu Ghaith said Bin Laden wanted the Kuwaiti-born preacher to reach the hearts of al-Qaeda recruits, to show them another side of life outside the harsh existence at the group’s Afghanistan training camps.

Prosecutors have argued Mr Abu Ghaith used the “murderous power of his words” to rally militants against America after the 11 September 2001 attacks.

Assistant US Attorney Nicholas Lewin has previously said Mr Abu Ghaith spent time at the al-Qaeda camps inspiring the recruits to kill.

Prosecutors also allege that he agreed to appear in the group’s propaganda videos after 11 September 2001 to call for further violence “while our buildings still burned”.

Mr Abu Ghaith’s remarks came a day after a judge ruled jurors would not hear testimony from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

Mr Mohammed had previously written in a statement that Mr Abu Ghaith had no military role in al-Qaeda.

Mr Abu Ghaith was arrested last year in Turkey and brought to New York to face trial. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of the charges against him.


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