Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law was found guilty Wednesday of conspiring to kill Americans and of providing material support to terrorists, one of the most prominent al Qaeda operatives to be convicted in a U.S. civilian court.
The conviction of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is another notch for federal terrorism prosecutors, who have battled criticism in recent years that they were ill-equipped to handle high-stakes terrorism cases and that military commissions were better suited for the task.
The 12-member anonymous jury came to the decision in Manhattan federal court after deliberating for just over a day. The three-week trial and successful conviction stand in contrast to the military commissions handling the cases of detainees at Guantanamo. Those trials have crawled along at a slow pace and at least two convictions have been challenged successfully in federal appeals courts. See also coverage in The Guardian.