Egyptian Cleric Found Guilty on All Counts

Abu Hamza al-Masri found guilty of terrorism
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2014 2:20 PM CDT
Egyptian Cleric Found Guilty of Terrorism
This Friday, April 30, 2004 file photo shows Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, as he arrives with a masked bodyguard, right, to conduct Friday prayers in the street in London.   (AP Photo/Max Nash, File)

A radical London imam who was extradited to the US on terrorism charges was found guilty today on all 11 counts, Reuters reports. Prosecutors accused Abu Hamza al-Masri—who is partially blind and has no hands—of trying to build a terrorist training camp in Oregon, shipping off a young jihadist recruit to Afghanistan, defying US sanctions imposed on the Taliban, and aiding in the 1998 Yemen kidnapping of 16 tourists, CNN reports. He had pleaded not guilty and stood trial for four weeks in New York City, facing a jury of four women and eight men. Now the 56-year-old may spend the rest of his life in prison.

The prosecution focused on connecting Abu Hamza to events half-way around the world, often using witnesses who hadn't met him and appeared in exchange for leniency or protection. Taking the stand in his own defense, the cleric accused prosecutors of using "pay-as-you-go witnesses" who took his remarks out of context. Much of the trial focused on his anti-Western statements, and videos were shown of Abu Hamza praising the 9/11 attackers, the Telegraph reports. His defense attorney portrayed him as an "independent thinker" who was seeking a "third way" between the philosophies of George W Bush and Osama bin Laden, but prosecutor Ian McGinley described the cleric as a man who "devoted his life to violent jihad." (Read more Abu Hamza al-Masri stories.)

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