A former top aide to Osama bin Laden has been given life in prison for conspiring in the deadly 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa, with the judge rejecting his claims he is not violent.
US District Judge Lewis Kaplan said Khaled al-Fawwaz was a supporter of bin Laden’s goals even before the attacks in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans. Al-Fawwaz, 52, turned towards victims of the bombings and spoke minutes before his sentence was announced.
“I can’t find words to describe how terribly sad and sorry I am. I don’t support violence. I hope one day people will find other ways to live with their differences other than violence, said al-Fawwaz said.
Kaplan announced al-Fawwaz’s sentence after three victims spoke, including Ellen Karas, who was left blind by the attacks.
Al-Fawwaz lawyer Bobbi Sternheim had asked that he be sentenced to less than life in prison, saying he was less culpable than others.
In court papers, prosecutors said they proved at trial that al-Fawwaz was an al-Qaeda leader who directed a military training camp in Afghanistan in 1991, led a terror cell in Kenya in 1993 and ensured bin Laden’s 1996 declaration of war against the US reached the world.