Report- Two jurors in embassy bombings case consulted pastor

Sunday, January 5, 2003

NEW YORK -- Two members of a jury that convicted four men of conspiring with Osama bin Laden in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa consulted their pastors before deciding whether to sentence them to death, The New York Times reported.

The two jurors sought spiritual guidance while deliberating the fates of Mohamed Rashed Daoud Al-'Owhali, 24, and Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, 28, the Times reported in its Sunday editions.

Those two jurors chose the death penalty, though the jury ultimately deadlocked on execution for both men. The jurors were among nine interviewed by the Times; all spoke on condition of anonymity.

Consulting pastors violated a judge's order to not discuss the case with anyone.

The four men were convicted in May 2001 of conspiracy in the Aug. 7, 1998, bombings of the embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The attacks killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.

One juror, an art therapist who is a born-again Christian, said she met with a Christian counselor in June and then her pastor to ask about the religious implications of a death sentence. The pastor told her that "Scripture points to support for the death penalty," she said.

The therapist voted along with five others on June 11 against sentencing Al-'Owhali to death in a 6-6 tie, but later changed her vote to support the death penalty.

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