British preacher Abu Hamza guilty on US terror charges
A New York jury convicted British hate preacher Abu Hamza on 11 kidnapping and terrorism charges Monday, opening the way for a judge to impose what will almost certainly be a life sentence.
The hook-handed imam, who became a tabloid bogeyman in Britain at the Finsbury Park mosque in London, showed no reaction as the guilty verdict was returned on all counts following a four-week trial.
Judge Katherine Forrest will return to the Manhattan courtroom on September 9 to sentence Abu Hamza and wrap up what was the second high-profile terror trial in New York in three months.
Campaigners will seize on the trial as further proof that US terror cases could be tried more effectively in civilian courts as pressure builds to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
In March, another New York jury also found Osama bin Laden`s son-in-law and former Al-Qaeda spokesman, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, guilty in a lightning-quick trial a year after his arrest.
"These trials demonstrate that in an American civilian courtroom, the American people and all the victims of terrorism can be vindicated without sacrificing our principles," said Manhattan`s top federal prosecutor, US attorney Preet Bharara.
Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, 56, better known in Britain as Abu Hamza al-Masri, was charged with the 1998 abduction of Western tourists in Yemen, providing material support to Al-Qaeda, assisting the Taliban and sending terror recruits to Afghanistan.
It took the 12-member jury just 12 hours over two days to reach the unanimous verdict.
In the hostage-taking, he was found guilty of providing the Islamist kidnappers with a satellite phone, acting as an intermediary and dispensing advice by telephone from home.
Two of the hostages were Americans.
The jury also also convicted him of trying to set up a terror training camp in Oregon in 1999 and, from his London base, of promoting "violent jihad" on a global scale.Blind in one eye and with both hands blown off by an explosives experiment in Pakistan, he compared himself to Irish republican leader Gerry Adams and spoke of his love for Osama bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda mastermind killed by US forces in May 2011.
He denied all the charges, though he acknowledged he occasionally used strong words in his sermons and fiery speeches -- numerous extracts of which were played for the jury.
He admitted supplying the satellite phone to the Islamist group that kidnapped the Australian, British and US tourists in Yemen, but said he was only told of the abduction after the fact.
He said he threw away a fax in which a young man who attended his mosque told him of plans to build a jihad training camp in Oregon in 1999.
He also claimed he didn`t know another of the young men at his mosque had left to fight in Afghanistan.
Prosecutors wrapped up their case last week, saying the evidence against Abu Hamza was "simply overwhelming."
Defense lawyer Jeremy Schneider argued that his client was being tried for "his words in general, not his deeds."
The Egyptian-born father of nine and an engineer by training, joined Finsbury Park mosque in 1997, where he preached vitriolic sermons, in particular against the United States.
The mosque closed in 2003, but he continued to preach outside on the street.
British police arrested Abu Hamza in August 2004 at Washington`s request, and he was sentenced to seven years in jail in 2006 for inciting murder and racial hatred.
He was extradited to the United States in October 2012 after losing his last appeal at the European Court of Human Rights.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Sheena's diary reveals disturbed relationship with parents: DNA reports
- Shameless cheating in exams, when will Bihar learn?
- Setback for Air India as 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliner pilots resign
- Sheena case: Indrani quizzed jointly with Peter, denies killing daughter
- Trade unions` strike hits normal life across India
- Sonakshi Sinha silences Twitter troll for calling her ugly and it's epic!
- Furkan, not Tiger Memon, arrested in Pakistan
- Modi effect! Pakistan-occupied Kashmir wants to be part of India
- Sheena Bora murder saga: 12 questions that police asked Peter Mukerjea during 12-hour grilling?
- Parineeti Chopra turns 'sexy pari' for sizzling photo-shoot