Abu Hamza in detention till Oct 9: US Court
New York: Radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, who was flown in from the UK along with four other terror suspects, will remain in detention till his formal arraignment on October 9, a US court has ordered.
Hamza, who had fought extradition to the US for years and made his initial appearance in a federal court here Saturday, will be charged for plotting to take hostages and conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda.
Besides Hamza, four others who were extradited are Adel Abdul Bary, Khalid al-Fawwaz, Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan.
While Khalid al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary appeared alongside Hamza in New York, Syed Talha Ahsan (33) and Babar Ahmad (38) were arraigned in New Haven to charges that they provided terrorists in Afghanistan and Chechnya with cash, recruits and equipment.
Hamza, Bary and Fawwaz had arrived at Westchester County Airport north of New York City in a Gulfstream V aircraft, the FBI said.
Fawwaz and Bary were arraigned before US Magistrate Judge Frank Maas in a brief court hearing during which both entered not guilty pleas through their defense lawyers.
Hamza, who is yet to enter his plea, did not speak at his initial hearing.
He appeared in court before Maas separately after the hearing for Fawwaz and Bary.
Maas ordered that all three men be detained and they are scheduled to appear before federal judges in New York on October 9.
Wearing navy blue jail fatigues, Hamza did not have the hooks that he wears in place of his hands which he lost in injuries apparently sustained in Afghanistan.
Amid high security, authorities had temporarily removed Hamza's prosthetic limbs.
His lawyer Sabrina Shroff asked the federal judge that Hamza be given a prosthetic device, and also requested for special shoes and access to a dictation device because of his disability, besides permission to take diabetes medication.
The indictment charges Hamza with 11 offenses that carry a maximum term of life imprisonment.
It alleges that Hamza was involved in a hostage-taking conspiracy in Yemen, in which 16 tourists, including two US citizens, were held hostage by force in December 1998.
Hamza allegedly provided a co-conspirator with a satellite telephone and subsequently spoke with him on that, agreed to act as an intermediary on behalf of the hostage-takers, and advised the co-conspirator with respect to the hostage-taking.
On December 29, 1998, the Yemeni military launched a rescue operation during which the hostages were used as human shields. Four hostages were killed and several others were wounded in the operation.
In late 1999, Hamza and several co-conspirators, including Oussama Abdullah Kassir, Haroon Rashid Aswat and others attempted to create a terrorist training camp to support al-Qaeda on property located in Oregon.
The primary purpose of the camp was to provide various types of terrorist training, including weapons training.
In late November 1999, at Hamza's direction, Kassir, and Aswat traveled from London to Oregon to assist in setting up the camp.
Further, the indictment alleges that in November 2000, Hamza requested that a co-conspirator escort the other one in London to a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan.
He introduced the co-conspirators to one another in order to facilitate safe passage and transportation to Afghanistan, including via safehouses and other lodging in Pakistan.
In March or April 2001, Hamza conveyed instructions for the co-conspirators to contact a commander of the terrorist training camp in Afghanistan.
Additionally, from the spring of 2000 through late 2001, Hamza provided goods and services to the Taliban by urging his followers to donate money, goods, and services among other things to Taliban-sponsored programs in Afghanistan.
The indictment charges Fawwaz with conspiracy to kill US nationals, conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to destroy buildings and property of the US and conspiracy to attack national defence utilities.
The indictment charges Bary with 284 offenses, including conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against US nationals and bombing of US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, resulting in over 200 deaths.
Both Hamza and Bary face a possible life term in prison.