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Four Convicted in Embassy Bombings

BY Admin  May 29, 2001 at 3:15 PM EST

The four men were found guilty on all 302 counts lodged against them, including murder and conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction.

A jury of seven women and five men found Rashed Dauod Al-Owhali, 24, of Saudi Arabia, Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, 27, of Tanzania, Wadih El-Hage, 40, of Arlington, Texas, and Mohamed Sadeek Odeh, 36, of Jordan, guilty of conspiring to kill American embassy officials and employees in the attacks.

Al-Owhali and Mohamed could face the death penalty when the trial moves into its penalty phase, which is expected to begin Wednesday. Odeh and El-Hage could be sentenced to life in prison.

The decision follows three months of testimony and 12 days of deliberations.

Twelve Americans were among the 224 killed in the blasts at the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Aug. 7, 1998.

Among the charges were murder counts for each person killed in the blasts. Al-Owhali was convicted on 213 murder counts for the bombing in Kenya, Mohamed on 11 for the explosion in Tanzania.

Although the bombings occurred overseas, the U.S. has jurisdiction in the case because American property was targeted.

The bin Laden connection

Bin Laden, a Saudi exile and one of America’s most wanted fugitives, is considered to be the mastermind behind the bombings. Prosecutors say he has declared an Islamic “holy war” against the U.S. and has urged his followers to kill Americans. The U.S. government has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest.

Although bin Laden has been accused in participating in anti-American plots, such as the attack last October on the USS Cole and a 1999 plot to bomb U.S. millennium celebrations, the embassy bombing case is the only one in which he has been indicted.

Today’s verdict marks the first U.S. conviction of anyone accused of participating in bin Laden’s activities.

Six other defendants charged in the bombings are in custody and awaiting trial. The U.S. is still searching for 13 others, including bin Laden, who is believed to be in Afghanistan.