Abu Hamza remains in US detention
NEW YORK - Agence France-PresseA U.S. judge ordered that Islamist preacher Abu Hamza, who Washington sees as an al-Qaeda mastermind, be kept in detention after a brief court hearing on Oct. 6.
Abu Hamza and four other terror suspects who were extradited overnight from Britain appeared in U.S. court in the latest stage of a transatlantic legal saga. All men except Abu Hamza, who entered no plea, pleaded not guilty.
The one-eyed extremist, whose trademark hook on the stump of his right arm and other prosthetic limbs were removed, did not speak at the hearing in New York, except for a few words muttered to his court-appointed lawyer. Abu Hamza, 54, faces terror charges over a 1998 kidnapping in Yemen, setting up an al-Qaeda-style training camp in the northwestern state of Oregon and for “facilitating violent jihad” in Afghanistan. He will be formally charged on Oct. 9.
Appearing in the same New York court were Egyptian Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled Al-Fawwaz of Saudi Arabia, 50. They are both charged with conspiring with members of al-Qaeda to kill U.S. nationals and attack U.S. interests abroad.
Bary, 52, is also charged with murder, conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and other offenses in connection with the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Those blasts destroyed the buildings, killing 224 people and injuring thousands more. Two others, British citizens Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan, appeared before a judge in New Haven, Connecticut.
They were ordered held in custody. Another hearing is set for Oct. 15. U.S. officials hailed the extradition of Abu Hamza and the other terror suspects as a “watershed moment” in Washington’s battle against al-Qaeda.
“These are men who were at the nerve centers of al-Qaeda’s acts of terror, and they caused blood to be shed, lives to be lost and families to be shattered,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.