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US Judge Gives Islamist Preacher Life Sentence

  • VOA News

FILE - Abu Hamza al-Masri, the radical Islamist cleric facing U.S. terrorism charges, sits with his legal team in Manhattan federal court in New York in this artist's sketch.

FILE - Abu Hamza al-Masri, the radical Islamist cleric facing U.S. terrorism charges, sits with his legal team in Manhattan federal court in New York in this artist's sketch.

A U.S. judge has sentenced a radical Islamist preacher to life in prison, eight months after he was convicted of federal terrorism charges.

The judge on Friday imposed the sentence on Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, commonly known as Abu Hamza, at a federal court in New York City.

Hamza, who is blind in one eye and a double-hand-amputee, was in court at the time of his sentencing. His lawyers had urged the judge to take his physical deficiencies into account when imposing a sentence.

Last May, Hamza was convicted on all 11 counts he faced of providing material support to terrorists. They included sending followers to set up a jihadist training camp in the United States, dispatching men to help al-Qaida in Afghanistan, and providing a satellite phone to Yemeni militants who kidnapped Western tourists in 1998.

Four hostages died during a rescue attempt.

In a statement on Friday, Assistant Attorney General John Carlin called Hamza "an unrepentant all-purpose terrorist."

Hamza, who was based in Britain before being extradited to the U.S. in 2012, preached vitriolic, anti-Western sermons at the Finsbury Park mosque in London.

Before his extradition, he spent seven years in jail in Britain for inciting hate by encouraging young Muslims to launch a holy war against non-believers.

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