Abu Hamza, radical Muslim cleric, pleads not guilty in NYC


Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza on April 16, 2004 in London. The European Court of Human Rights approved Hamza's extradition from the UK to the US on April 10, 2012, along with four other suspected terrorists, setting a precedent for extradition between the countries.


Bruno Vincent

Abu Hamza al-Masri, the British radical Muslim cleric who was recently extradited to the United States, pled not guilty to terror charges in New York City on Tuesday.

Al-Masri is accused of conspiring to set up an Al Qaeda style training camp in Oregon, among other charges.

Al-Masri is also accused of providing financial support to the Taliban and aiding a 1998 kidnapping in Yemen, which left four hostages dead, Bloomberg reported.

The one-eyed cleric appeared in Federal Court in New York on Tuesday, without his hook-like prosthetic hand, Agence France Presse reported. Al-Masri is Egyptian-born, and is being prosecuted under his birth name, Mustafa Kamel Mustafa.

The trial date has been set for August 26 next year, and al-Masri has been remanded to a maximum security detention center in the downtown New York courthouse, said AFP.

More on GlobalPost: Abu Hamza appears in US court following extradition

Al-Masri is one of five men who were extradited from England last Friday, after losing a lengthy legal battle and last minute appeals against extradition. CNN reported that two of the other men, Khaled al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary, also pled not guilty in New York on Saturday.

Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan, the last two men, pled not guilty before a judge in New Haven, Connecticut on Saturday.

"After years of protracted legal battles, the extradition of these three alleged terrorists to the U.S. is a watershed moment in our nation’s efforts to eradicate terrorism," said US Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement on Oct. 6 in Manhattan, according to Bloomberg.

The US has been attempting to prosecute al-Masri since May 27, 2004.

Al-Masri was convicted in 2006 in the UK for inciting followers to kill non-believers, and sentenced to seven years in prison.

The New York Post reported that American tax payers would foot the bill to replace al-Masri's hook-like prosthetics, which were taken away once he arrived in the US, because they were viewed as a potential security threat. The cost of the replacement prosthetics could be $16,000.

More on GlobalPost: Abu Hamza loses last appeal against US extradition