Radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, who authorities say tried to set up a terror training camp on U.S. soil, was found guilty on terrorism-related charges today.
Hamza, who has a prosthetic hook in place of one hand and is blind in one eye, was originally indicted in 2004 on a number of terror-related counts, including the attempt in 1999 and 2000 by he and others to create a “jihad training camp in Bly, Oregon,” according to an updated 2006 copy of the indictment. He was also found guilty today of plotting to kidnap westerners in Yemen in 1998.
Hamza, who was tried as Mustafa Kamel Mustafa in a federal court in New York's Southern District, had denied the charges and testified in his own defense, saying he was merely acting as a "mouthpiece" for Islamist movements. His attorney did not immediately respond to request for comment on today's ruling.
"The defendant stands convicted, not for what he said, but for what he did," U.S. Attorney Preet Bhara said today. "Abu Hamza was not just a preacher of faith, but a trainer of terrorists. Once again our civilian system of justice has proven itself up to the task of trying an accused terrorist and arriving at a fair and just and swift result."
He was arrested in 2004 by British authorities but was not brought to the U.S. for trial until 2012 after a fierce legal battle. In England, Hamza had preached at a controversial mosque attended by, among others, shoe bomber Richard Reid.