Tags: Bombers | U.S. | Embassies | Guilty

Bombers of U.S. Embassies Guilty

Tuesday, 29 May 2001 12:00 AM

A U.S. District Court jury of seven women and five men convicted four terrorists with alleged ties to Osama bin Laden on all 302 counts of murder and conspiracy. The same jury begins deliberations today on possible death sentences for two of the killers, Daoud Al-Owahli and Khalfan Khamis Mohammed, 36.

The anonymous jury, which had been sequestered since Jan. 3, began deliberations May 10.

Wadih el-Hage, 40, and Mohamedd Sadiq Odeh, 36, could face life in prison without parole.

Mary Jo White, U.S. attorney for Southern District of New York, said the men convicted of participating in a "worldwide conspiracy to kill Americans and bomb embassies" in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar as Salaam, Tanzania on Aug. 7, 1988 that left 224 "completely innocent African and American citizens" dead. Thousands more were injured.

Near simultaneous truck bombings of U.S. embassies in the two African countries killed 12 Americans and 212 Kenyans and Tanzanians. The conspiracy allegedly targeted Americans around the world.

White said the trial was "primarily about the victims of the terrorist bombing and their families" and said she hoped the verdicts would provide "some sense of justice and vindication."

"Our job is not finished," White said. "We remain permanently committed to tracking down, apprehending and bringing to justice every single participant in these crimes, however long it takes and where ever around the globe it is necessary to go to find the evidence and those responsible to bring them to justice."

The prosecutors introduced more than 1,700 pieces of evidence in the five-month trial, and the defense had 300 exhibits. More than 300 witnesses testified, including the government's star witness, former terrorist Jamal Ahmed Al-Fadl, whose identity was kept secret until he appeared in court.

Osama bin Laden, an Arab now in Afghanistan and accused of masterminding and bankrolling anti-American terror efforts, is one of the nine suspects still at large, according Barry Mawn, an assistant director of the FBI. Investigators suspect Osama bin Laden has been involved in attacks against Americans in Saudi Arabia and Somalia, and against the USS Cole while it was in port in Yemen.

"The rule of law is more powerful than any terrorist's bomb," Mawn said.

Mawn said the investigation was the largest ever overseas deployment by the FBI. He said the terrorists - those in custody and those still at large - had planned to bomb American passenger planes, the United Nations building and FBI headquarters in Washington.

Odeh could face execution. His two attorneys vowed Tuesday to appeal the verdict.

"I've always taken the position that Mohammed was a soldier, and we still maintain that position," Anthony Ricco said. "He took it like a soldier. He took it calmly.

Edward Wilford, another Odeh attorney, said: "It was an emotional thing. It was an emotional hype that we could not overcome.

"In my summation I asked the jury to be courageous, and by being courageous I meant by taking a position where they'd be able to overcome the number of deaths and injuries involved in this case."

Clara Aliganga, of Tallahassee, Fla., mother of 21-year-old U.S. Marine Nathan Aliganga, who was killed in the bombing, said: "I was very proud of him. He worked very hard to where he had gotten."

She fingered a small golden cutout of Africa on a gold chain around her neck she got from Nairobi where her son had been stationed and she wore as a memento.

"I was very happy [with the verdict], but then the pain that you don't have your love any longer comes back," Aliganga said, struggling to maintain composure. "I don't think there's anything such as closure."

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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A U.S. District Court jury of seven women and five men convicted four terrorists with alleged ties to Osama bin Laden on all 302 counts of murder and conspiracy. The same jury begins deliberations today on possible death sentences for two of the killers, Daoud...
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2001-00-29
Tuesday, 29 May 2001 12:00 AM
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