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Jury Selected for Abu Hamza Trial in New York

Jury selection began this morning in the trial of Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, aka Abu Hamza al-Masri.

The 55-year-old Mustafa also will face a life sentence if he is convicted of conspiring to support al-Qaida by trying in 1999 to set up a terrorist training camp in Bly, Ore., by arranging for others to attend an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan and by ensuring there was satellite phone service for hostage-takers in Yemen in 1998 who abducted two American tourists and 14 others. Four hostages were killed.

Jurors were questioned about Abu Hamza's physical appearance. He has no hands and only one eye: [More....]

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Abu Hamza's First U.S. Court Appearance

Cleric Abu Hamza, aka Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, aka Abu Hamza al-Masri, made his first court appearance in New York today, following his extradition yesterday from the UK.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's press release is here. The 2006 Second Superseding Indictment is here.

Along with Abu Hamza, four other alleged terrorists were flown to the U.S. Two will be tried in Connecticut, and three in New York. The other four are Khaled al-Fawwaz, Babar Ahmad, Adel Abdul Bary and Syed Talha Ahsan.

In exchange for allowing the extradition, the U.K. obtained a promise from the U.S. that all five would be tried in civilian courts and not face the death penalty.

The charges against Abu Hamza include conspiring to set up a training camp in Bly, Oregon. His co-defendant Oussama Kassir, from Sweden, was convicted at trial in 2009 and received life in prison, which he is serving at Supermax in Colorado. Kassir's conviction was upheld on appeal in 2011.[More....]

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Eur. Court Blocks Transfer of Terror Suspects Due to Supermax Concerns

The European Court of Human Rights yesterday blocked the transfer to the U.S. of four suspected terrorists. The grounds: They might get sent to Supermax in Florence, CO which has inhumane conditions.

Egyptian-born Hamza, a former imam of the once-notorious Finsbury Park mosque in north London who has one eye and a hook for one hand, is serving a seven-year jail term for inciting followers to murder non-believers.

The other men in jail awaiting extradition are British nationals Babar Ahmad, Haroon Rashid Aswat and Seyla Talha Ahsan.

Interestingly, the court rejected their claims that their designation as enemy combatants could lead to the death penalty, and that their trials would be unjust. It was the Supermax argument that won the day.

[T]heir complaints "concerning the stringency of conditions there for what could be the rest of their lives, raised serious questions of fact and law". [More...]

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