Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > UK 'protects' Abu Hamza Al Masri from extradition to US & death penalty - charges him with calling for murder of Jews and non Muslims
UK 'protects' Abu Hamza Al Masri from extradition to US & death penalty - charges him with calling for murder of Jews and non Muslims
UK scuttles US extradition request to try Al Masri on terrorism charges
October 23, 2004
MIM: After funding Abu Hamza Al Masri with unemployment paychecks,and giving him a forum and recruitment center at the Finsbury Park mosque for nearly a decade, the UK has effectively refused the US request for his extradition by charging him with 16 domestic charges instead of citing his terrorist activities as a reason for prosecution.
The British indictment of Al Masri makes it virtually impossible for the US to demand his extradition.Masri's arrest came at insistence of the US, and the British authorities stipulated that they would not comply with the US request to turn over Al Masri because he could face the death penalty under United States law.. In what can be euphemistically termed 'British understatement' the only charge brought against Al Masri under the Britain Terrorism Act ;
"...accuses al-Masri of possessing a book called the Encyclopedia of the Afghani Jihad, a document allegedly produced by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network that provides the "basic rules of sabotage and terror" in highly technical detail. "
The NYPD went to London and pressured the British to arrest Al Masri with the intention of demanding his extradition.
The British appear intent on protecting the lives of their terrorists, in the hopes that by doing so they will fall under the category of :"host nation" which Islamists claim are to be spared attacks as long as they are not perceived as treating their militant Islamists too harshly.
The NYPD police commissioner, Ray Kelly, was blunt in his accessment of Abu Hamza Al Masri. Kelly called Abu Hamza "The real deal", and labelled him , "a freelance consultant to terrorists worldwide".
The British for their part ,only levelled one charge against Al Masri which fell under their Terrorism Act which referred to Al Masri's reading matter, specifically, his possession of an "Encyclopedia of the Afghani Jihad". So great was their concern for the terrorist welfare that he was refitted with an artificial hook at the cost of 5,000 pounds (about $2,500) to the British taxpayer: As Dr.Daniel Pipes recounts in his ongoing weblog "Londistan Follies"
"Londonistan Follies The British government won itself the reputation for being tough because it joined with the U.S.-led effort in Iraq, quite in contrast to France. But when it comes to domestic counterterrorism, the French are far ahead of the hapless, head-in-the-sand Londonistanis – as I have noted earlier. Indeed, it sometimes seems like one could handsomely fill a blog with nothing but entries documenting the British follies....
"...In a Times (London) article about Abu Hamza Al-Masri, the British Islamist, we learn first that he was charged a day earlier "with 16 offences of encouraging murder, stirring up race hatred and possessing a terrorist document. Ten of the counts allege that the former imam ‘did solicit or encourage' others at public meetings to kill non-believers in the Muslim faith: four refer specifically to attacks on Jews." The article then goes on: "Abu Hamza is to receive a new aluminium hook from the NHS [National Health Service]. A specialist from a London clinic will fit the hook at Belmarsh, at an estimated cost of £5,000. The cleric lost both hands and an eye in a bomb explosion. A spokesman for the Home Office said that he was entitled to the same care as any other prisoner." (Oct. 20, 2004) http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/298
MIM: Note that this October a few months after Abu Hamza Al Masri's arrest Omar Bakri Mohammed the head of Al Muhajiroun announced that the group was 'disbanding'. Both Masri and Mohammed worked together at the Finsbury Park mosque and openly declared support for Al Qaeda.
LONDON Oct. 19, 2004 - British authorities pre-empted a U.S. bid to extradite radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, charging the fiery preacher Tuesday with urging followers to kill non-Muslims, in some case specifically targeting Jews.
On what was scheduled to have been the first day of his extradition hearing, al-Masri, 46, sat in court to face 10 charges of soliciting or encouraging the murder of others, "namely a person or persons who did not believe in the Islamic faith." Four of the charges added: "in particular Jewish people."
The alleged incitement to murder came in speeches that, according to the 16-count indictment, were recorded on tape.
Al-Masri was arrested in May after U.S. authorities charged him with trying to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon, involvement in hostage-taking in Yemen and funding terror training in Afghanistan.
Under British law, the domestic charges, which could carry a maximum sentence of life in prison, take precedence over the extradition case. At Belmarsh Magistrates Court on Tuesday, Judge Timothy Workman formally adjourned extradition proceedings until al-Masri has been convicted or cleared of the British charges.
A lawyer representing U.S. authorities said American officials intend to ask for extradition proceedings to be resumed once the British case ends.
Al-Masri, who is being held at a high-security prison in London, nodded when asked if he understood the charges. He did not apply for bail and faces a preliminary hearing at the Central Criminal Court on Oct. 26.
Al-Masri is the former head preacher at London's Finsbury Park mosque, which has been linked to terror suspects, including Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged in the United States with crimes related to the Sept. 11 attacks, and "shoe bomber" Richard Reid.
The cleric who has one eye and hooks for hands, which he says were lost fighting Soviet troops in Afghanistan also faces four charges of using "threatening, abusive or insulting behavior" to stir up racial hatred and one count of possessing threatening, abusive or insulting recordings.
The final charge the only one that falls under Britain's Terrorism Act accuses al-Masri of possessing a book called the Encyclopedia of the Afghani Jihad, a document allegedly produced by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network that provides the "basic rules of sabotage and terror" in highly technical detail.
Al-Masri, who has called the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington a Jewish plot and the invasion of Iraq a war on Islam, denies any involvement in violence and says he is only a spokesman for political causes.
His lawyers have fought the U.S. attempt to extradite him, arguing that he could not receive a fair hearing in the United States because officials have publicly labeled him a supporter of terrorism. They also fear he could face the death penalty, which is banned in Britain.
A native of Egypt, Al-Masri is fighting the government's decision to strip him of his British citizenship. He is also wanted in Yemen on charges of hostage-taking and conspiracy in a December 1998 attack that killed four tourists.
Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, awaiting trial for urging followers to kill non-Muslims, was denied bail by a judge on Tuesday.
Al-Masri, who faces 16 charges including 10 counts of soliciting the murder of Jews and other non-Muslims, appeared at London's Central Criminal Court by video link from prison.
Judge Peter Beaumont rejected a bail request by al-Masri's lawyers and ordered him detained at Belmarsh high-security jail until his next court hearing on Dec. 21.
British prosecutors charged al-Masri, Britain's highest-profile Islamic radical, on Oct. 19, pre-empting a U.S. bid to extradite him on terrorism-related charges. Under British law the domestic charges, which carry a maximum sentence of life in prison, take precedence over the extradition case.
The Egyptian-born cleric - who has one eye and hooks for hands, which he says were lost fighting Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s - was arrested in May after US authorities charged him with trying to establish a terrorist training camp in the western state of Oregon, involvement in hostage-taking in Yemen and funding terrorism training in Afghanistan.
The United States plans to resume the extradition case once he is convicted or cleared of the British charges.
LONDON - Abu Hamza al-Masri, the radical Muslim cleric who faces extradition to the United States, was charged yesterday by the British police with encouraging his followers to murder Jews and non-Muslims.
Appearing before a magistrates' court at Belmarsh Prison here, al-Masri was accused of 16 offenses in all. The other charges included inciting racial hatred, possessing threatening or incendiary sound and video recordings and having a terrorist document in his possession when he was arrested.
Al-Masri was arrested in May after U.S. authorities charged him with trying to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon, involvement in hostage-taking in Yemen and funding terror training in Afghanistan. A lawyer representing U.S. authorities said American plans to seek extradition once the British case ends.
Al-Masri, 46, is the former head preacher at London's Finsbury Park mosque, which has been linked to terror suspects, including Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged in the United States with crimes related to the Sept. 11 attacks, and "shoe bomber" Richard Reid. Al-Masri, who has called the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington a Jewish plot and the invasion of Iraq a war on Islam, denies any involvement in violence and says he is only a spokesman for political causes.
LONDON (AFP) - Islamic cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri (pic above) was charged by a British court on Tuesday with 16 offences including incitement to murder Jews, scuppering a request from the United States for him to face trial there on terrorism-related allegations.
"Extradition proceedings will be adjourned until the British case is dealt with, whether the charges are dropped or a trial takes place," a spokesman for Britain's Crown Prosecution Service told AFP.
Hamza, 47, an Egyptian-born British national, was charged at high-security Belmarsh Magistrates Court in southeast London with 10 counts of "soliciting murder".
This little-used charge, covered by an 1861 criminal law, relates to inciting others to murder unspecified people.
In Hamza's case it relates to alleged incitement by the cleric at public meetings to kill non-Muslims, specifically Jews, according to several of the charges.
He was also charged with four counts of using threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour with intent to stir up racial hatred; one count of possessing threatening, abusive or insulting sound recordings; and one count of possessing a terrorist document.
The British charges means the one-eyed, hook-handed cleric will not be sent in the foreseeable future to the United States, where judicial authorities want to try him on 11 terrorism-related charges.
Hamza was first detained in May following the US request and was then formally arrested under British laws in August. According to newspaper reports, the US authorities have been pushing hard for Hamza to be extradited rather than face a British trial.
Hamza gained public attention for his speeches at a mosque in Finsbury Park, north London.
MIM: The charges which the U.S. leveled against Al Masri include involvement in murderous terrorist attacks . The NYPD was instrumental in forcing the British to arrest Al Masri and NYPD police Commissioner Ray Kelly described Al Masri as;
U.S. indicts British cleric on 11 charges Al-Masri allegedly sought to set up training camp for terrorists in Oregon
MSNBC staff and news service reports Updated: 8:39 p.m. ET May 27, 2004
NEW YORK - U.S. authorities Thursday charged a radical Muslim cleric in London with 11 terrorism-related crimes, including trying to set up a terror training camp in Oregon and assisting in the kidnapping of two Americans and others in Yemen.
The 11-count indictment, unsealed in federal court in Manhattan, was returned by a federal grand jury on April 19. U.S. authorities are seeking to extradite the man, Abu Hamza al-Masri, who was arrested earlier Thursday in London.
If convicted of the most serious charge — hostage taking — al-Masri, 47, could face the death penalty. But British Home Secretary David Blunkett said in a radio interview Thursday that an agreement with U.S. officials specified that in al-Masri's case, "they will not carry out an execution." The U.S. Justice Department would not confirm such an arrangement.
"The United States will use every diplomatic, legal and administrative tool to pursue and prosecute those who facilitate terrorist activities," Attorney General John Ashcroft said in announcing the indictment. "And we will not stop until the war against terrorism is won."
Al-Masri, who has one eye and a steel hook in place of his right hand as a result of injuries he suffered while fighting Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s, has been the focus of terror suspicions for years in Britain.
The indictment charges al-Masri, whose real name is Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, with hostage taking in connection with an attack in Yemen in December 1998 that resulted in the death of four hostages.
Accused in terror training camp plot It also accuses him of trying to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon while providing aid to both al-Qaida and the Taliban.
According to the indictment, al-Masri tried to establish the terrorist camp in Bly, Ore., between October 1999 and early 2000.
Three months ago in Seattle, a Muslim convert with ties to al-Masri received two years in prison after pleading guilty to aiding the Taliban.
The man, James Ujaama, 38, who was arrested in July 2002, was indicted on two charges: conspiring to set up a terrorist training camp in Bly and using a firearm to further the conspiracy.
Prosecutors let him plead guilty in exchange for his cooperation in terrorism investigations. In particular, they wanted to hear what he knew about al-Masri, whose Web site Ujaama once ran.
Ashcroft said at a news conference that, among other evidence linking al-Masri to the plot, investigators had obtained a fax from co-conspirators in the United States to the cleric proposing creation of the camp.
Al-Masri also was charged with specifically providing material support to al-Qaida and the Taliban to foment "violent Jihad" in Afghanistan.
Al-Masri was the imam at the Finsbury Park Mosque in London, which has been linked to several terrorist suspects, including Sept. 11, 2001, suspect Zacarias Moussaoui and "shoe bomber" Richard Reid.
‘The real deal' "He is the real deal," New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. "Think of him as a free-lance consultant to terrorist groups worldwide."
Al-Masri's arrest came a day after Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller warned that a stream of credible intelligence indicated that a major terrorist attack could occur in the United States this summer and the FBI posted a list of seven wanted al-Qaida operatives.
But there was no indication that U.S. authorities believed al-Masri was linked to possible plots currently in the making.
Al-Masri was arrested about 3 a.m. at his home in west London, which also was searched.
He appeared Thursday afternoon before a magistrate at the high-security Belmarsh prison. He shrugged and laughed when asked whether he would consent to being extradited, then added, "I don't really think I want to, no."
He was held in custody after bail was refused and scheduled to appear in court again on July 23.
Al-Masri's lawyer, Maddrassar Arani, told British Broadcasting Corp. radio that she had spoken to her client before his court appearance.
"He was quite calm about it," Arani said. "He said, ‘Take your time and come down whenever you can.' "
Well-known Islamic radical Al-Masri, who was born in Egypt but once had British citizenship, is one of Britain's best known Islamic radicals. He has been fighting deportation by the government, which has accused him of advising and supporting terrorist groups, including al-Qaida. He also is wanted in Yemen on charges of orchestrating terrorism there from Britain.
The British government revoked his British citizenship in April 2003, calling him a threat to the country's interests. He has appealed that decision to a special immigration tribunal. A ruling is not expected until early next year.
At an immigration hearing last month, a government lawyer said al-Masri had "provided advice and support to terrorist groups," including al-Qaida and the Islamic Army of Aden, the organization that claimed responsibility for the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.
The lawyer said al-Masri had encouraged others to engage in jihad, "including fighting overseas and engaging in terrorist acts."
Al-Masri, who married a British woman and took British citizenship in 1981, denies any involvement in violence and says he is only a spokesman for political causes.
The fiery preacher is a tabloid hate figure in Britain.
He has sparked outrage with sermons calling the invasion of Iraq a "war against Islam," claiming that the Sept. 11 attacks were a Jewish plot and calling the explosion of the space shuttle Columbia a "punishment from Allah" because Christian, Jewish and Hindu astronauts were aboard.
Finsbury Park Mosque was shut down by its trustees after a police anti-terrorist raid in January 2003. The next month, al-Masri was banned from preaching there by a government body because his "extreme and political" statements conflicted with the mosque's charitable status.
Since then, he has led Friday prayers on the street outside, under the watch of police.
MIM: Abu Hamza Al Masri's son followed in his father's footsteps and was jailed at age 17 on terrorism charges in Yemen. He returned to Britain in 2002 .Now that his father is jailed the question is as to whether he will be continuing his father's activities.