Libyan al-Qaeda suspect pleads not guilty

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NEW YORK CITY: A Libyan al-Qaeda suspect on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) pleaded not guilty in a New York court to conspiracy charges over the 1998 United States (US) embassy bombings in East Africa that killed 244 people.

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Anas al-Libi was snatched from the streets of the Libyan capital Tripoli by US commandos on October 5 and at the weekend was brought to New York, where he was indicted by a grand jury in 2000.

The 49-year-old was arraigned in New York Southern District courtroom 24A wearing a black sweater, grey jogging pants and socks and flip flops on his feet.

He sported a bushy grey beard and closely cropped black hair, and appeared tired during the less than 15-minute hearing held under stringent security measures.

Judge Lewis Kaplan read out a list of charges him that accuse Libi of conspiring to murder, kidnap, maim, kill, destroy property and attack US defense buildings.

The charges do not carry the death penalty.

Libi spoke in a gravelly voice only to confirm his name and age, and that he understood the proceedings.

He spoke in Arabic and said he did not understand English, so was given simultaneous translation through a headset by an interpreter.

The prosecution said Libi, whose given name is Nazih Abdul Hamed al-Raghie, was a clear danger to the public and a flight risk with no family in the United States.

The judge ordered him detained and adjourned the next hearing until October 22.

The August 7, 1998 car bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi killed 213 people and wounded another 5,000.

A near simultaneous truck bomb outside the US mission in Tanzania killed 11 people and wounded 70 more.

The computer expert had been on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most wanted list with a $5 million price on his head.

Prior to arriving in New York, he was interrogated on the USS San Antonio, a US amphibious transport ship that had been operating off Libya in the Mediterranean.

AFP

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