Captured Al-Qaeda Member Pleads Not Guilty

Libyan Al-Qaeda suspect pleads not guilty in a New York court to conspiracy charges over the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa.

Elad Benari ,

Abu Anas al-Liby
Abu Anas al-Liby

A Libyan Al-Qaeda suspect pleaded not guilty in a New York court on Tuesday to conspiracy charges over the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa that killed 244 people, reports AFP.

Abu Anas Al-Liby, who was snatched from the streets of the Libyan capital Tripoli by U.S. commandos on October 5, was brought to New York on Monday.

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

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

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

The charges do not carry the death penalty.

Liby 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 Liby, 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.

Liby had been on the FBI's most wanted list with a $5 million price on his head.

He was captured in an American operation in Libya, which has denounced the raid and demanded that Liby be returned to Libya to face trial there.

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

The 2000 indictment of him and 20 other alleged Al-Qaeda members lists him in direct connection to the U.S. embassy bombing in Kenya.

U.S. President Barack Obama said last week Liby "planned and helped to execute a plot that killed hundreds of people, a whole lot of Americans."

"We have strong evidence of that. And he will be brought to justice," Obama added.