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The BBC's Ishbel Matheson
"Hundreds are still suffering the physical and psychological injuries inflicted by the attack"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 30 May, 2001, 05:42 GMT 06:42 UK
Embassy bombers face death penalty
Embassy bombing
224 people were killed in the bombs
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for two Islamic terrorists convicted on Tuesday of bombing the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

Mohamed Rashed Daoud Al-'Owhali, 24, and Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, 27, were both found guilty by a court in New York of murdering 224 people, including 12 Americans in the bombings.

The four men are believed to be followers of Osama bin Laden
The men were convicted alongside Wadih al-Hage, 40, and Mohamed Sadeek Odeh, 36, who now face life imprisonment for their involvement with the attacks

On Wednesday a trial will begin to determine whether Mohamed Rashed Daoud al-'Owhali will face the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole.

Separate hearings

Lawyers say that hearing evidence in the case will take at least a week.

After the jury has reached a decision on al-'Owhali, a second hearing will take place to decide Khalfan Khamis Mohamed's fate.

The Manhattan jury took 12 days to find the men guilty on all 302 counts against them.

All four men denied the bombing charges but FBI agents testified that two of them admitted their crimes in confessions.

Taleban protection

The US remains convinced the men are supporters of Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden, who is alleged to be the mastermind behind a campaign of terror against the United States.

Edith Bartley (L) leads Clara Aliganda (R) away from the media
Relatives of victims wept as the verdicts were read out

Mr bin Laden is believed to be living in Afghanistan under the protection of the Taleban.

Officials were pleased by the convictions.

"These verdicts are a triumph for world justice and for world unity in combating international terrorism," said attorney Mary Jo White, whose office led the prosecution.

Mixed reaction

There was a mixed reaction from relatives of the victims.

"I am very happy, justice has been done... these people should not be let go without severe punishment," said Charles Abiud, who was in a building that collapsed when the bomb exploded at the Nairobi embassy next door.

Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden: threatened holy war

"It won't erase the grief and feeling of loss," said Edith Bartley, whose father and brother died in the bombing in Nairobi, Kenya.

Mary Olds, who lost her daughter Shirley in the bombing, spoke of the need to bring Mr bin Laden to justice.

"It is not over," she said.

"If we do not deal with the main person we will be dealing with him for years to come."

Tourist warning

Her sentiments were echoed by the director of the FBI's New York office, Barry Mawn.

"Much remains to be done," he said.

Hours after the verdicts, the State Department urged Americans overseas to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take steps to increase their security awareness.

The statement was a reaffirmation of a 11 May warning that American citizens abroad may be the target of a terrorist threat from extremist groups with links to Mr bin Laden.

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See also:

29 May 01 | Americas
US embassy bombing four convicted
03 Jan 01 | Americas
Embassy bombings trial begins
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