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Abu Hamza denies backing terrorism at US trial

Islamist cleric Abu Hamza denied supporting terrorism as he gave evidence at his US trial.

Hamza, who is on trial under the name Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, told a federal court in New York that he would give up freedom if the price was his dignity and beliefs.

Islamist cleric Abu Hamza pictured outside the North London Central Mosque in 2003.
Islamist cleric Abu Hamza pictured outside the North London Central Mosque in 2003. Credit: REUTERS/Toby Melville/Files

The 56-year-old cleric, was extradited from Britain to the US two years ago, countered three weeks of government evidence with answers to rapid-fire questions posed by defence lawyer Joshua Dratel.

"No," Mustafa calmly replied repeatedly as Mr Dratel asked him if he participated in a December 1998 kidnapping in Yemen, tried to organise a terrorist training camp in the US of Oregon, aided al Qaida or sent anyone to Afghanistan to engage in terror training.

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Abu Hamza 'was part of global terror campaign'

The prosecutor in the US trial against Islamic preacher Abu Hamza told jurors that he was part of a global campaign to spread terror.

Opening arguments have been made at Abu Hamza's trial in New York
Opening arguments have been made at Abu Hamza's trial in New York Credit: Johnny Green/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Federal prosecutor Edward Kim described Mr Hamza as a man with a mission to establish an al-Qaida training camp in the US, and said the defendant financed and sent two men to Bly in Oregon to set up the compound to train others.

Abu Hamza had been jailed since 2004 in Britain on separate charges. He was extradited to the US in 2012 only after the US agreed he would face a civilian trial not a military one, and that the death penalty was off the table.

Read: Abu Hamza trial begins in US

Abu Hamza trial begins in US

The US government has said Islamic preacher Abu Hamza tried to create an al-Qaida terrorist training camp in Oregon in late 1999 and early 2000, during opening arguments at his trial in New York.

Islamic preacher Abu Hamza is on trial in the US
Islamic preacher Abu Hamza is on trial in the US Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Mr Hamza is also charged with helping kidnappers in Yemen in a 1998 attack that killed four people, and of arranging for fighters to attend an Afghanistan al Qaida training camp.

But the defence lawyer for Abu Hamza - who is also known by the aliases Mustafa Kamel Mustafa and Abu Hamza al-Masri - said he has never harmed Americans.

Prosecution case starts today against Abu Hamza

Abu Hamza, the one-eyed Muslim cleric with a hook for a hand, goes on trial in New York on charges that he provided support for al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Hamza faces 11 terrorism related counts, some of these include:

  • Trying to start a terrorist training camp in Oregon in 1999
  • Charges that he aided militants who kidnapped a group of tourists in Yemen in 1998
  • Gathering funds from UK venues for the Taliban and to support training for jihad in Afghanistan.

The Egyptian-born preacher, who faces life in prison if convicted, told a judge at a pretrial hearing on Wednesday that he is innocent.

More: Home Secretary signing Qatada treaty with Jordan

Decision on Abu Hamza ally expected today

The decision on whether a suspected ally of hate preacher Abu Hamza should be kicked out of Britain will be made by human rights judges today.

Currently being held at high-security psychiatric hospital Broadmoor, Haroon Aswat, is wanted by US prosecutors for allegedly plotting with Hamza to set up a terror-training camp in Bly, Oregon.

Aswat's case was adjourned to allow judges more time to consider his mental health as he is currently being treated for schizophrenia.

Read: US extradition decision due on British nationals

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Hamza forced to hand over hook

Abu Hamza
Radical Islamist cleric Abu Hamza is forced to turn in his prosthetic arms every night in jail Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Radical Islamist cleric Abu Hamza is forced to turn in his prosthetic arms every night in jail because officials believe the metal hook on one limb could be used as a weapon.

Abu Hamza's lawyer has complained that giving up the arms leaves his client helpless for hours.

Hamza is expected to be outfitted with a new prosthetic in the shape of a hand at taxpayers' expense of more than US$15,000 (£9,330).

Wife of Abu Hamza asked to move house

The wife of Abu Hamza has been asked to move out of her five-bedroom council house in west London. Najat Mostafa has reportedly been living at the property in Shepherd's Bush since 1995. But Hammersmith and Fulham Council wants her to move to a smaller home.

We believe this home is too big for the number of family members who currently live there and, with over 10,000 people languishing on the borough's housing waiting list, she should move to a more appropriate property.

– Hammersmith and Fulham Council

Najat Mostafa is allowed to refuse the council's request because there is no time limit on her tenancy agreement.

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