Tuesday, February 07, 2006

CAPTAIN HOOK GETS SEVEN YEARS

From the Times:
Abu Hamza al-Masri, the radical Muslim cleric whose fiery rhetoric has become synonymous with Islamist extremism in Britain, was jailed for seven years today after being found guilty of inciting his followers to kill non-believers.

Egyptian-born Abu Hamza, 47, was convicted of 11 of 15 charges of using his influence as a spiritual leader of the Muslim community in North London to become, in the words of the prosecution, a recruiting sergeant for terrorism.

Following four days of deliberations at the end of a three-week trial, a jury of seven men and five women at the Old Bailey found Abu Hamza guilty of six of the nine most serious charges - which relate to soliciting others to murder Jews and non-Muslims.

Abu Hamza, whose real name is Mostafa Kamel Mostafa, was convicted of three out of four charges of using threatening words or behaviour to stir up racial hatred. He was further found guilty of possessing of video and audio recordings which he intended to distribute to foment racial hatred.

He was also convicted on a final charge, under section 58 of the Terrorism Act, of possessing a document, the Encyclopaedia Of Afghani Jihad, which was described as a manual for terrorism. It included a dedication to Osama bin Laden and a passage suggesting a list of potential targets including skyscrapers, the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben.
Good. It's one thing to publish offensive cartoons or wander round a protest dressed as a suicide bomber, but quite another to actively incite the murder of non-Muslims.

He's already served over a year inside, so could theoretically be out in a couple more, but then he'll have the small matter of the US Justice Department to deal with. From John Ashcroft's statement back in May 2004:
Hamza faces charges of conspiracy to take hostages and hostage-taking in connection with an attack in Yemen in December 1998. The hostage-taking resulted in the death of four hostages.

Hamza is also charged with: conspiracy to provide and conceal material support to terrorists; and, providing and concealing material support and resources to terrorists and a foreign terrorist organisation, specifically to al-Qaeda.

These charges are related to Hamza's alleged attempts in late 1999 and early 2000 to set up a training camp for violent jihad in Bly, Oregon.

Hamza is also charged with providing material support to al-Qaeda for facilitating violent jihad in Afghanistan, as well as conspiracy to supply goods and services to the Taleban.

The maximum sentence for the hostage-taking charges is the death penalty or life imprisonment. Hamza also faces a maximum sentence of up to 100 years in prison on the additional charges contained in the indictment.
If the evidence for these charges is as strong as that presented in his UK trial, he won't be tasting freedom for quite a while.

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