World News

Jury Chosen for US Terror Trial of Egyptian Cleric

A jury has been chosen in the New York City terrorism trial of an Egyptian-born Islamic cleric.

Eight men and four women were picked to hear evidence in the U.S. government's case against Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, also known as Abu Hamza al-Masri.

Abu Hamza is charged with conspiring with al-Qaida to set up a jihadist training camp in the western U.S. state of Oregon in 1999. He is also accused of raising money to send militants to train in Afghanistan and with providing support to militants in Yemen who kidnapped 16 tourists in 1998. Four were killed during the Yemeni military's rescue attempt.

The suspect was extradited from Britain to the United States in 2012 after serving a seven-year prison sentence for inciting murder and racial hatred there.

While a cleric in northern London, Abu Hamza had contacts with several high-profile militants, including Richard Reid, who unsuccessfully tried to blow up a jetliner in 2001 with a bomb hidden in his shoe.

Abu Hamza, who is blind in one eye and lost both hands reportedly while fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, has said he intends to testify in his own defense. He has pleaded not guilty.

Lawyers at the trial are expected to give their opening statements on Thursday. The cleric faces life in prison if convicted.

The trial begins just weeks after another radical Islamic cleric, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, was convicted on terrorism charges in New York City.

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