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Tuesday, 13 February, 2001, 13:04 GMT
Bin Laden witness back in court
Artist's sketch of the trial
Artist's impression of the four accused
A key witness in the trial of four men charged with the bombing of two US embassies in Africa will return to a New York courtroom on Tuesday for what promises to be a tough cross-examination.

Osama bin Laden
Bin Laden: Denies links to the witness
Jamal Ahmed al-Fadl, who claims to have been a former aide to militant Osama bin Laden, has already provided the foundation for many of the charges.

But defence lawyers are expected to try to discredit his testimony and show he cannot link their clients to plots against American citizens.

Mr bin Laden's group, al-Qaeda, has denied any link to Mr al-Fadal.

The United States accuses the organisation of masterminding the 1988 embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya, which killed 224 people, including Americans.

Defence lawyers are expected to target inconsistencies in Mr Al-Fadl's testimony.

Vast network

They could also attack Mr Al-Fadl's character and try to portray him as a thief and a liar who stole money from bin Laden's group and then tried to get a reward from the US government.

Members of the US Marshal Service
There is unprecedented security at the trial
Mr Al-Fadl, who pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy, also testified he had asked for a reward for his information but his request was denied since he had worked against the US Government.

Last week, Mr al-Fadl, who was born in Sudan, described in court al Qaeda's vast network that stretched from Sudan to the UK.

He said the group had received religious decrees, ordering them to kill members of the US military.

Although 22 defendants are charged, only four are on trial:

  • Wadih el-Hage, 40, a naturalized US citizen born in Lebanon
  • Mahamed Rashed Daoud Al-Owhali, 24, a Saudi Arabian
  • Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, 27, a Tanzanian
  • Mohamed Sadeek Odeh, 35, a Jordanian

Mr bin Laden has been indicted for the embassy bombings, but a court appearance is unlikely as US officials believe he is currently in hiding in Afghanistan.

The trial is expected to last for 10 months and is taking place under unprecedented security in a Manhattan court.

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See also:

06 Feb 01 | Americas
Witness reveals bin Laden threats
06 Feb 01 | Americas
Embassy bombing trial 'unfair'
03 Jan 01 | Americas
Embassy bombings trial begins
20 Dec 00 | South Asia
Who is Osama bin Laden?
21 Dec 00 | Americas
New embassy bomb suspects charged
10 Jul 00 | Africa
Embassy bomb suspect in court
04 Aug 00 | Africa
Compensation deadline for Kenyans
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