Radical Muslim cleric found guilty of terrorism charges

[JURIST] A jury for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] on Monday convicted [press release] Egyptian-born Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] of supporting terrorism. Al-Masri was found guilty [BBC report] of 11 criminal charges, which included planning to establish a jihad training camp in Oregon, conspiring to kidnap Americans in Yemen by enabling hostage-takers to speak on a satellite phone [Guardian report] and supplying the Taliban with goods and services. Though the jury decision was unanimous, he has maintained his innocence through continued denials of all charges. The cleric is now facing the possibility of a life sentence in a top-security US prison. He faces sentencing September 9.

Al-Masri pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] in October 2012 to all 11 of the charges he faced. His extradition was approved by the High Court of England and Wales in earlier that month after being temporarily delayed [JURIST reports] by the same court the previous month. The court's decision came a week after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) gave its final approval of the extradition, which it had initially approved [JURIST reports] in April 2012. The ECHR's decision marked a change in position for the court from its position two years ago, when it stayed the extradition [JURIST report] of four terrorism suspects to the US, holding that potential punishment could violate European Convention on Human Rights [text] provisions on the prohibition of torture and inhumane or degrading treatment. The UK High Court approved the extradition [JURIST report] of Aswat and Ahmad to the US in 2006.

 

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