Abu Hamza Al-Masri, Radical Muslim Cleric, Found Guilty Of Terror Charges By US Federal Court
Former Home Secretary David Blunkett said the verdict justified the lengthy legal battle surrounding Hamza's extradition. "This has been a very long journey to obtain justice, and to ensure that someone who has been so adept at avoiding the just penalty for his extensive activities is at last being brought to book," said Blunkett. "The verdict justifies the extensive measures over many years to ensure through his extradition that he should pay for the misery he brought to others."
During the trial, Hamza proclaimed his love for Osama bin Laden, reiterating his belief in the validity of the 9/11 attacks. He was also shown on video giving sermons on why non-Muslims should be treated like "cows and pigs". However, the cleric insisted that he did not take part in any terror-related activity, with his defence lawyer Joshua Dratel telling the jury that these were "expressions, not crimes".
Assistant US attorney Ian McGinley argued that the jury should look beyond Hamza's lies, highlighting four European tourists that died in 1998 in Yemen by kidnappers who had a satellite phone supplied by Hamza. "Don't let the passage of time diminish what he did," McGinley told the jury.
The cleric travelled to Britain the early Eighties, after which he met Valerie Fleming, an English woman whom he married, gaining British citizenship in the process. He divorced her a few years later.
The cleric, who preached at the infamous Finsbury Park Mosque once attended by "shoe bomber" Richard Reid and 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, was originally indicted on terror charges in 2004 however was only extradited to the US after a protracted legal battle.