News / USA

Trial of Egyptian Cleric Opens in New York

Trial of Egyptian Cleric Opens in New Yorki
X
Carolyn Weaver
April 18, 2014 1:55 AM
The federal trial of terror suspect Abu Hamza al-Masri is under way in the U.S. Testimony began Thursday in a New York courtroom where the Egyptian cleric faces multiple terror-related charges. His trial began with opening statements by attorneys, as VOA’s Carolyn Weaver reports.
Carolyn Weaver
The U.S. federal trial of terror suspect Abu Hamza al-Masri began Thursday in a New York courtroom where the Egyptian-born cleric faces multiple terror-related charges.
 
Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Kim told the jury that the radical imam, whose birth name is Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, used his London mosque and religion as a cover to support terrorism for violent jihad.
 
He said Abu Hamza aided a hostage-taking in Yemen, in which four hostages were killed, helped direct a terrorist training camp in the northwestern U.S. state of Oregon, and sent men to train with al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
 
Defense attorney Joshua Dratel responded that Hamza is innocent, and that he engaged in “harsh” rhetoric merely to keep his more extreme followers from drifting away. He said Hamza’s only role in the Yemen hostage-taking was attempting to negotiate a peaceful resolution, and he noted that Hamza never traveled to Yemen or Oregon. Dratel also said that British security sometimes sought out Abu Hamza to help prevent violence among his followers.  
 
Hamza, who says he lost an eye and both of his hands while fighting the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan, although other sources say it was in a training camp accident, was sentenced by Britain to seven years in prison in 2006 after being convicted of inciting race hatred and murder. Following a years-long legal battle, Britain extradited him in 2012 to face trial in a U.S. civil court, rather than before a military tribunal.
 
Seton Hall University law professor Bernard Freamon said that was the right decision.
 
“Of all the federal courts, this federal trial court is probably the most highly regarded,” he said. “So when you try someone, even someone accused of terrorism in a court like this, the government is under a microscope. It has to give the defendant all the rights that he deserves. That’s not so in a military trial. In a military tribunal, much is done in secret, and the defendant does not have anywhere near the due process rights that he would get here in downtown New York.”
 
At the same time, Freamon noted, the trial is being held within blocks of the site of the September 11, 2011 terror attacks on the World Trade Center - attacks praised by Abu Hamza.
 
“He had nothing to do with 9/11, at least there are no charges against him in terms of 9/11, so I think it might have been better to try him somewhere else in the United States,” Freamon said. “But the government can do that, and they think that part of the act of doing justice is to try him in the district where the terrible events of 9/11 occurred.”
 
The first witness in the case, Angelica Morris, testified about seeing men training with guns at an alleged jihadist training camp in the northwestern state of Oregon in 1999 and 2000. She also described witnessing a mock demonstration of how to slit someone’s throat.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid