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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wadih El Hage Resentenced To Life In Prison For His Role In The 1998 Bombings Of The American Embassies In Kenya And Tanzania



Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that WADIH EL HAGE, a United States citizen, was resentenced today in Manhattan federal court to life in prison for his participation in al Qaeda conspiracies to murder U.S. nationals and government employees that culminated in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and for lying to the grand jury and to federal agents about his association with al Qaeda before and after the bombings took place. EL HAGE, 52, was convicted of conspiracies to kill U.S. nationals; to murder U.S. government employees and internationally protected persons; and to destroy buildings and property of the United States on May 29, 2001, following a six-month trial before U.S. District Judge Leonard B. Sand. The jury also convicted EL HAGE of multiple counts of perjury for lying to the grand jury about his knowledge of, and association with, al Qaeda and its leaders and members, and three counts of making false statements to FBI agents regarding the same. On October 18, 2001, Judge Sand, sentenced EL HAGE to life imprisonment.

On appeal, the Second Circuit upheld the conviction and remanded for resentencing in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Booker, concerning the federal sentencing guidelines. EL HAGE was resentenced today by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Today’s resentencing confirms the outcome this Office worked to ensure: that Wadih El Hage will spend the rest of his life in prison for his involvement in an international conspiracy to murder Americans which spawned the 1998 bombings that killed 224 innocent people.”

According to evidence presented at trial and documents previously filed in Manhattan federal court:

EL HAGE was a high-ranking associate of Usama Bin Laden who performed key functions for al Qaeda to advance the organization's terrorist goals, including facilitating the bombing of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 people. Among other things, El HAGE disbursed the al Qaeda payroll, procured equipment for the organization, and operated al Qaeda businesses, which provided cover for operatives and generated cash for the organization. He also provided false identification documents to the group so that operatives could travel undetected and participated in secret meetings with al Qaeda leaders, after which he carried messages from Bin Laden to other members of the organization. In his capacity as one of the leaders of al Qaeda's East Africa cell, EL HAGE conveyed Bin Laden’s order that the cell – which played a key role in the 1998 Embassy Bombings – prepare for military action. Both before and after the bombings took place, EL HAGE obstructed the investigation into al Qaeda by repeatedly lying to a federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York concerning his knowledge of and involvement in al Qaeda.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division, the Tanzanian National Police, and the Kenyan National Police.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Sean S. Buckley and Aimee Hector are in charge of the prosecution.


Press Release Number: 
13-147
Updated May 13, 2015