Crime

Met Police role in US terrorism conviction for ‘Osama Bin Laden’s media rep’ in London

US FBI Twitter account. Image: @NewYorkFBI

US FBI Twitter account. Image: @NewYorkFBI

The Met Police’s Counter Terrorism Command has welcomed the life sentence imposed on Khalid Al-Fawwaz in connection with the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

Fawwaz was regarded as ‘Osama bin Laden’s media representative in London.’

New Scotland Yard says since 1998 it’s assisted the US Department of Justice and the New York FBI in bringing 52 year old Khalid Al-Fawwaz to justice:

Over 1,500 exhibits and thousands of documents seized and produced during the 1998 UK investigation were assessed and disclosed for use in the US trial, providing material fundamental to the prosecution case.

On 23 September 1998, SO13 Anti Terrorist Branch arrested seven UK-based subjects under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for their suspected involvement in the US Embassy attacks.

Following exhaustive enquiries it was assessed that there was insufficient evidence to charge the subjects with any offences under previous UK legislation.

On 27th September of that year Al-Fawwaz and two other men were detained pending extradition to the US on suspicion of their involvement in the Embassy bombings.

The remaining subjects were deported from the UK.

In 2012 Al-Fawwaz and another man, who later died from cancer, were subsequently extradited to the US following a lengthy battle against extradition.

In a trial before Judge Lewis A Kaplan at the Manhattan Federal Court Al-Fawwaz was found guilty of four offences:

1. Conspiracy to kill U.S. Nationals;

2. Conspiracy to Murder;

3. Conspiracy to destroy buildings and property of the U.S.; and

4. Conspiracy to attack national defense utilities

14 UK witnesses travelled to New York and provided evidence at the trial.

Al-Fawwaz was sentenced to life imprisonment on Friday 15th May.

The judge recommended he served the whole of his life sentence in the US prison service.

US Federal District Court in New York City. Image: Google Street View

US Federal District Court in New York City. Image: Google Street View

He’s also been ordered to pay tens of millions of dollars in restitution to victims’ families and the US government.

Commander Richard Walton, head of the SO15 Counter Terrorism Command, said:

The attacks in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998 were the first large scale acts of terrorism undertaken by Al Qaeda and a precursor to 9/11.

Counter Terrorism officers from Scotland Yard have worked hard over the years since to support US partner agencies, including the FBI, to achieve a successful prosecution.

We are relieved to see justice has finally been served.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:

Khalid al Fawwaz, who played a critical role for Al Qaeda in its murderous conspiracy against America, will now spend the rest of his life in a federal prison. As one of Osama bin Laden’s original and most trusted lieutenants, Fawwaz led an Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan and a terrorist cell in Kenya before serving as bin Laden’s media adviser in London.

Fawwaz was bin Laden’s bridge to the West, facilitating interviews of bin Laden in Afghanistan by Western media and disseminating bin Laden’s 1996 declaration of jihad against America and his 1998 fatwah directing followers to kill Americans anywhere in the world.

To that end, on August 7, 1998, Al Qaeda operatives bombed our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, murdering 224 innocent people and wounding thousands more. Fawwaz conspired with a murderous regime, and the result was a horrific toll of terror and death.

The price he will pay, appropriately severe as it is, cannot possibly compensate his victims and their families.

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