Khaled Fawwaz, who was Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's unofficial spokesman in Britain during the 1990s, was convicted Thursday in connection with the deadly 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
The 52-year-old Fawwaz, a Saudi citizen, was accused, among other things, of working with Bin Laden in 1994 to set up a media office in London to publicize the Al Qaeda leader's statements and to act as a cover for funneling money, messages and equipment to Al Qaeda cells worldwide. He was also accused of having issued a "declaration of jihad against Americans" on behalf of Bin Laden while in London.
The August 1998 bombings, which killed more than 200 people and injured thousands, followed from Fawwaz’s actions, prosecutors said.
On Thursday, prosecutors in New York said, Fawwaz was convicted on one count of conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals, one count of conspiracy to murder, one count of conspiracy to destroy buildings and property of the United States, and one count of conspiracy to attack national defense utilities.
Each count carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. His sentencing is set for May 21.
Defense lawyers portrayed Fawwaz as a dissident who sought peaceful reform and was dismayed by Bin Laden's shift toward violence, according to the Associated Press.
Fawwaz, who was arrested in Britain, was extradited to the U.S. in 2012.
"From his onetime place at the top of Al Qaeda’s membership list, Fawwaz now joins the long membership list of convicted, jailed terrorists," U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara said in a statement, and Fawwaz has "received full justice in a Manhattan courtroom — the verdict of 12 ordinary Americans rendered after a fair and open trial."
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