U.S. seeks to use letters from bin Laden raid at terror trial

NEW YORK: U.S. prosecutors have asked a federal judge to allow them to use documents seized during the 2011 military raid that killed Osama bin Laden at the January trial of suspected al Qaeda figure Abu Anas al-Liby.

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In papers filed on Friday in Manhattan federal court, prosecutors said that six letters, written in 2010 and 2011 when bin Laden was “the most wanted man in the world,” were “critically important evidence” of al-Liby’s alleged role in al Qaeda conspiracies to kill Americans.

“I ask God to reunite me with you soon under the banner of Islam and the Islamic state and the banner of jihad,” al-Liby wrote bin Laden in one letter in October 2010, according to a government motion.

Bernard Kleinman, al-Liby’s lawyer, said he would oppose the government’s request.

U.S. forces killed bin Laden in May 2011 in a raid on his hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, ending a nearly 10-year hunt following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States using hijacked jetliners.

Al-Liby, whose real name is Nazih al-Ragye, was seized by U.S. forces in October 2013 in Libya and brought to the United States to face criminal charges stemming from the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Al-Liby and accused bin Laden associate Khalid al-Fawwaz are scheduled to face trial Jan. 12. Both have pleaded not guilty.

The letters include a June 2010 message to bin Laden from Atiyah abd al-Rahman, his chief deputy, saying he had assigned al-Liby to serve on al Qaeda’s security committee following his release from an Iranian prison, according to court filings.

A March 2011 letter to Rahman concerned al-Liby’s long-standing request for permission to return to Libya, where the Arab Spring uprising that ultimately toppled Muammar Gaddafi was underway.

Rahman, killed in a drone attack in August 2011, wrote to bin Laden that April that he had approved the request. -Reuters

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U.S. seeks to use letters from bin Laden raid at terror trial

by Zohaib Kazmi