NEW YORK CITY: The Libyan al-Qaeda suspect recently captured by United States (US) troops was back in a New York courtroom on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) where his lawyer demanded at least six months to prepare his defense.
Anas al-Libi, 49, has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges over the 1998 al-Qaeda bombings of US embassies in East Africa that killed 244 people and wounded more than 5,000 others.
He was detained by US commandos in the Libyan capital on October 5 and brought to New York, where he was indicted in 2000 to face trial, after being interrogated on board a US warship.
Libi suffers from hepatitis C, a condition of the liver, but has received treatment and his health is “fine,” his lawyer Bernard Kleinman told reporters.
He denied claims from Libi’s son Abdullah al-Raghie that he was on hunger strike and reports that he had cirrhosis of the liver.
Throughout the hearing, Libi remained fixed ahead. At times he looked tired and worried, squinting his eyes in concentration.
He spoke only once, pulling a microphone toward him to say yes in Arabic when asked if he was satisfied with his legal representation.
The prosecution said it had two computer hard drives and 35 DVDs of 275,000 unclassified documents and 10 boxes of classified evidence.
Kleinman said he would need “at least six months” to go through all the evidence and to consult his client, whom he said he had met for the first time only earlier on Tuesday.
The government requested that Libi be tried jointly with two other suspects indicted on the same charges—Khalid al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdel Bary—given overlapping evidence and witnesses.
Lawyers for the other two suspects said they would need time to consider the request.
Kleinman said he would not be able to make decision until after going through the evidence.
“I don’t want to feel rushed. I want to make sure Mr. al-Libi gets the best representation,” he told the court.
Judge Lewis Kaplan said he would reflect later on a joint trial but indicated that he would be included to accept.