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British imam Abu Hamza al-Masri convicted of U.S. terrorism charges

By Kyle Johnson,

A North London imam was convicted by a jury on Monday of all 11 terrorism-related counts on which he was charged by the United States.

Abu Hamza al-Masri was originally indicted nearly a decade ago under the name Mostafa Kamel Mostafa for his involvement in the 1998 kidnappings at London's Finsbury Park mosque, reports The New York Times. Sixteen people in all, from the United States, Britain and Australia were taken to Yemen. Four hostages died during a rescue operation when used as human shields.

The former imam was also accused of assisting in an Oregon terrorist training camp and sending followers to Afghanistan to train with al-Qaeda members. Prosecutor Ian McGinley said in closing arguments last week, "He jumped at opportunities across the globe to support this violent jihad."

The defense for the handless and one-eyed al-Masri argued that prosecutors were basing their case on statements that their client had previously made, according to Reuters. The former imam was well-known for his incendiary language used in sermons.

The NY Times noted he had previously said, "everybody was happy when the planes hit the World Trade Center" and said Osama bin Laden was "a hero."

The 56-year-old Egyptian-born imam faces the possibility of life in prison. U.S. District Court Judge Katherine B. Forrest will oversee the sentencing.

 

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