News / USA

Jury Chosen for US Terror Trial of Egyptian Cleric

In this courtroom drawing, Mustafa Kamel Mustafa , center, is flanked by his defense team, attorney Julie Howe, left, and Joshua Dratel, right, in New York, April 14, 2014.
In this courtroom drawing, Mustafa Kamel Mustafa , center, is flanked by his defense team, attorney Julie Howe, left, and Joshua Dratel, right, in New York, April 14, 2014.
Carolyn Weaver
A jury has been chosen in the New York terror trial of a radical Islamic cleric, Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, also known as Abu Hamza al-Masri.

Abu Hamza, who is Egyptian, was extradited from Britain to the U.S. in 2012 after serving a seven-year prison sentence for inciting murder and racial hatred there. He is charged with conspiracy to take hostages in Yemen, with sending intermediaries to organize a terrorist training camp in the U.S., and with providing material support to the Afghan Taliban, a recognized enemy of the U.S. He has pleaded not guilty.

In the Yemen hostage-taking, Abu Hamza is accused of involvement in the 1998 kidnapping of 16 tourists in order to force the release of prisoners being held by Yemen. Four hostages were killed when the kidnappers used them as human shields during the Yemeni military’s rescue attempt. Several others, including an American, were injured.

The indictment says Abu Hamza knowingly provided a satellite phone and airtime to the hostage-takers, spoke with them from Britain while the plot was under way, and offered to act as their intermediary.

He is charged with conspiring to stockpile weapons and ammunition to al-Qaida to establish a jihadist training camp in the northwestern U.S. state of Oregon in 1999. The charges of material support and resources to terrorists in Afghanistan are tied to alleged acts in 2000 and 2001.

Abu Hamza, who is blind in one eye and who lost both hands reportedly while fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, told Judge Katherine Forrest last week that he intends to testify in his own defense.

Bernard Freamon, a professor of law at New Jersey's Seton Hall University and an expert on Islam, said that could be risky, but may be part of Abu Hamza’s strategy for advocating jihad.

“Sometimes these defendants want to use, even the trial is part of the program of generating support for their cause," he said. "So, he may have an idea that he could use the trial, especially by testifying in his own defense, to try to advance the bona fides of his particular cause, which I disagree with, by the way. I think his view of jihad is not supported by the religion or any rational interpretation of the texts.”

Abu Hamza faces life in prison if convicted. His trial begins just weeks after another radical Islamic cleric, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, was convicted on terrorism charges in New York.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid