Last Updated:October 24 @ 12:14 pm

5 terror suspects from UK appear in US courts

By Larry Neumeister and John Christoffersen

NEW YORK (AP) - An extremist Egyptian-born preacher entered a U.S. courtroom Saturday for the first time to face multiple terrorism charges, complaining that his prosthetic hooks, medication and special shoes were taken away from him. The preacher was one of five terror defendants rounded up in Britain and extradited overnight to the U.S.

Abu Hamza al-Masri was surrounded by several marshals in a Manhattan courtroom as he faced charges he conspired with Seattle men to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon and helped abduct 16 hostages, two of them American tourists, in Yemen in 1998.

The 54-year-old, white-haired Al-Masri exposed both of his arms through his short-sleeved prison shirt. His court-appointed lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, asked that al-Masri, indicted under the name Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, have his prosthetics immediately returned "so he can use his arms."

In the 1990s, al-Masri turned London's Finsbury Park Mosque into a training ground for extremist Islamists, attracting men including Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and "shoe bomber" Richard Reid.

Al-Masri - jailed since 2004 in Britain on separate charges - was flown overnight to New York from London along with four others accused of U.S. embassy bombings in Africa and with helping terror operations in Afghanistan and Chechnya. The men, who could all face life in prison, have been battling extradition for between eight to 14 years.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called the extraditions "a watershed moment in our nation's efforts to eradicate terrorism."

"As is charged, these are men who were at the nerve centers of al-Qaida's acts of terror, and they caused blood to be shed, lives to be lost, and families to be shattered."

In New York's federal court, Khaled al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary, entered not guilty pleas to charges that they participated in the bombings of embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. The attacks killed 224 people, including 12 Americans. They were indicted in a case that also charged Osama bin Laden.

In New Haven, Conn., Syed Talha Ahsan, 33, and Babar Ahmad, 38, entered not guilty pleas to charges that they provided terrorists in Afghanistan and Chechnya with cash, recruits and equipment.

Al-Masri, a one-time nightclub bouncer, entered no plea, saying only "I do" when he was asked by U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank Maas whether he swears that his financial affidavit used to determine if he qualifies for a court-appointed lawyer was correct.

Shroff told Maas that al-Masri needed use of his arms. "Otherwise, he will not be able to function in a civilized manner."

She also asked for a dictating machine, saying he can't take notes, the return of his diabetes medication and special shoes that prevent him from slipping. She said he will need a special diet and a full medical evaluation in prison.

Al-Masri peered through glasses as he consulted with Shroff and another court-appointed lawyer, Jerrod Thompson-Hicks, in a proceeding that lasted less than 15 minutes.

Al-Masri has one eye and claims to have lost his hands fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. His lawyers in England said he suffers from depression, chronic sleep deprivation, diabetes and other ailments.

"I don't think he slept at all" on the overnight flight and hadn't eaten since arriving in New York at 2:40 a.m., Shroff said outside court. Still, she added, "He seemed very much like a gentleman."

Shroff and Thompson-Hicks also represented al-Fawwaz, 50, a citizen of Saudi Arabia. Thompson-Hicks said he was concerned whether his client would be properly treated for hypertension and high blood pressure. Attorney Andrew Patel, representing Bary, 52, an Egyptian citizen, said his client needed asthma medicine and treatment for other medical issues.

Patel, who declined to comment afterward, told Maas that Bary reserved the right to request bail in the future.

Four others who were tried in 2001 in the August 1998 bombings in Kenya and Tanzania are serving life sentences.

Ahsan, 33, and Ahmad, 38, were kept detained while they await trial in Connecticut, where an Internet service provider was allegedly used to host a website. Their lawyers declined to comment.

Ahmad made efforts to secure GPS devices, Kevlar helmets, night vision goggles, ballistic vests and camouflage uniforms, prosecutors said.

Al-Masri is not the first Egyptian-born preacher to be brought to Manhattan for trial. A blind sheik, Omar Abdel-Rahman, is serving a life sentence after he was convicted in 1995 in a plot to assassinate then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and in another to blow up New York landmarks, including the United Nations and two tunnels and a bridge linking New Jersey to Manhattan. Abdel-Rahman has numerous health issues, including heart trouble.

The overnight trip to the United States came after a multiyear extradition fight that ended Friday, when Britain's High Court ruled that the men had no more grounds for appeal and could be sent to the U.S. immediately.

"I'm absolutely delighted that Abu Hamza is now out of this country," British Prime Minister David Cameron said. "Like the rest of the public, I'm sick to the back teeth of people who come here, threaten our country, who stay at vast expense to the taxpayer and we can't get rid of them."

"I'm delighted on this occasion we've managed to send this person off to a country where he will face justice," he added.

Al-Masri has been in a British jail since 2004 on charges of inciting racial hatred and encouraging followers to kill non-Muslims.

While al-Masri has been portrayed in the British media as one of the most dangerous men in the country, the case against Ahmad in Connecticut has raised concerns among legal experts and human rights advocates.

Some lawyers and lawmakers have expressed concerns because Britain agreed to extradite the London computer expert even though his alleged crimes were committed in Britain; British courts declined to prosecute him for lack of evidence. Ahmad and Ahsan are accused of running websites to support Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime, Chechen rebels and associated terrorist groups.

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Christoffersen reported from New Haven, Conn. Associated Press writers Jill Lawless and Sylvia Hui in London contributed to this report.

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20 Comments

  1. billwvComment by billwv
    October 8, 2012 @ 8:02 am

    A known ‘terrorist’ who needs to be tried and executed for his murders and sedition AND people are worried about his ‘human rights’. This man is no more than a ‘rabid animal’ and should be dealt with accordingly. When are Americans going to wake up? Probably right after one of these raving lunatics has slashed the throats of them and those around them.

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    • nickster99Comment by nickster99
      October 8, 2012 @ 9:49 am

      He should be facing a firing squad quickly or hanged! He gets a trial. He is luckier than the people he has killed!

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    • gopluvaComment by gopluva
      October 8, 2012 @ 9:55 am

      Well I have a horrible feeling that whatever sentance he may incur obama will end up pardoning him,(on humanitarian grounds).Look at all the pardons cllinton gave.

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      October 8, 2012 @ 9:56 am

      Looks likes this guy has already had his hand cut off by Islam for stealing. Tongue and head should be next.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      October 8, 2012 @ 9:58 am

      “An extremist Egyptian-born preacher entered a U.S. courtroom Saturday for the first time to face multiple terrorism charges”

      These five thugs should have been flown from Britain to Guantanamo. They have now been introduced into the federal court system in New York where taxpayers will pay for months of legal fees with the possibility that they will be acquitted based on some ridiculous technicality.

      As enemies of our nation, they are entitled to protections under the Geneva Convention, but they are NOT entitled to protections under the U.S. Constitution and should not be allowed on U.S. soil while we have a designated place in Cuba for housing military prisoners.

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    • redseaComment by redsea
      October 8, 2012 @ 1:05 pm

      My first questoon bna42 was how much is all of this going to cost the taxpayers, and notice how glad England was to get rid of him. However, the US is the one who made him famous and previously gave him a lot of money to help us fight “alongside” the Taliban when we were “supporting” the Taliban against Russia. We should take responsibility, not that we are responsible for his crimes, but Al Qaeda is a creation of ours that went rogue. Rather than GITMO, I think we should dump him off in a hole somewhere in Afghanistan where we found him. He isn’t worth spending a dime on unless he’s got information about Al Qaeda. No info, no medicine!

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      October 8, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

      These are the same kind of guys who influenced Obama in the Muslims schools during his formative years in indonesia…. Hello,,,can a pardon be far behind?

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    • capricorn1Comment by capricorn1
      October 9, 2012 @ 10:38 am

      this is FUBAR!

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  2. dmg61Comment by dmg61
    October 8, 2012 @ 9:57 am

    Waste of time and money. They should have been shot.

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  3. lwessonComment by lwesson
    October 8, 2012 @ 10:12 am

    I will say this, because my friends in what was once “Great” Briton, cannot, without going to jail. Just why are there Muslims in England in the first place? Or for that matter, here in the US? Winston Churchill, Thomas Jefferson… would be more than just appalled. Is this why WW 1 & 2 were fought? The “Finest Hour” has long since been evaporated into seconds.

    Of course to explain this query, the nonsensical, suicidal, DIVERSITY, will be gayly paraded out, naked and freakish as it is. Or, it’s retarded cousin, TOLERANCE, given the stage to speak and drool on itself, lecturing us, lowly infidels.

    What the Muslims could not do through military conquest, and they tried, doing quite well, they are doing through immigration, and gaming the political system. The effort to get the UN to ban speech, the effort to end freedom of speech here, has shameful traction. After all, free speech is banned in Briton, Canada and other so called Western countries. Only approved, State/Court sanctioned speech, can be used.

    The Muslims are even trying to get The Pope, to apologize for Christians who finally expelled Muslim rule, from Spain! I guess, he should apologize while he is on his knees, for ridding Muslims from France & Austria too.

    The Muslims in England are so powerful, and England is so dead, that they are attempting to build a Mosque that would dwarf any building in London! Here? Besides wanting to build a Mosque thing, near their triumph of the destroyed World Trade Center, likely they are eying The National Cathedral for a makeover.

    So hooray that we have these vermin for trial, for the moment, but as said they should be at our military base in Cuba, and likely will be pardoned by Obama.

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  4. titanbellComment by titanbell
    October 8, 2012 @ 10:36 am

    BOO HOO! Why waste good money on these killers. He problably lost his hands from a bomb! What does he need hooks for in court anyway? Hang them publicly and save our money.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      October 8, 2012 @ 10:55 am

      He either lost his hands from a bomb or they were amputated because he was caught stealing. At any rate, he is trash and should have already been executed.

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  5. mrsgunnut10Comment by mrsgunnut10
    October 8, 2012 @ 10:46 am

    The first thing that needs to be done to these five terrorist’s is tie them up and shave off their beards and cut the buggy looking hair. To hell with their “Individual Rights”, they certainly don’t care for anybody else’s rights. Now, WE The People, need to be sure that Att. General Holder and Obamass do not turn these animals loose on the United States Populace. Don’t give them any special privileges either, let them eat the same foods given to other prisoners. In addition, if ANY FEDERAL JUDGE comes up with the idea that their rights are being violated, put him or her in the same Cell with them. Thank you for your time. TSgt., USAF retired.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      October 8, 2012 @ 11:12 am

      I still believe that the best way to fight the radical Muslims is by taking advantage of their beliefs. They are intolerant of any other belief system, so they should not criticize us. As soon as one of these radicals is taken into custody, during the booking experience, they should be required to step into a shower where they are bathed in hog lard before being placed in the compound.

      If we did that a few times and the word got out, Muslims would think twice before trying to attack us or harm us. The cowards would be aware that they would be pursued constantly and when caught they would be exposed to ridicule. After they have filmed the beheading of American civilians, burned U.S. bodies and suspended them from bridges for everyone to ridicule, they would have no grounds for complaining about our tactics.

      I personally don’t think it would be required but only a few times, and we would see a big attitude adjustment in the Muslim people. If C.A.I.R. or any of the other Muslim supporters voiced their disagreement, their headquarters in Washington D.C. could be sprayed with the same substance using a crop duster. It’s time to quit worrying about what these radicals think, fight to win, and make sure that swift retaliation is always given. We ARE at war with radical Islam and we should act accordingly.

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  6. noveldogComment by noveldog
    October 8, 2012 @ 11:57 am

    …..what about the one in the White House?

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  7. nickster99Comment by nickster99
    October 8, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

    The only thing Islam understands is force. We need to put and keep our foot on the neck of this pestilence forever. Because Islam is never going to change.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      October 8, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

      Th.e first step toward that goal would be kicking the Muslim sympathizer out of the White House, and then going after those who are infiltrating Congress.

      C.A.I.R. has been an “unindicted co-conspirator” in federal lawsuits, and as such should be barred from operating in any capacity in the U.S. Instead, our government bows to them every time they make a complaint about how some of their scum are treated.

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  8. mrickyridgeComment by mrickyridge
    October 9, 2012 @ 3:09 am

    Shroff told Maas that al-Masri needed use of his arms. “Otherwise, he will not be able to function in a civilized manner
    Let’s talk about civilized. Have his attorney hang out with him in his cell for a week and we’ll see civilized.
    This is the gall his lawyer has to say about this ‘ANIMAL’. Hang him by his hooks and let the 224 relatives serve justice on him. Obama the muslim lover and holder will try to find some way to free him or some moron of a judge will try to find some loophole to free him so he can recruit or kill.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      October 9, 2012 @ 9:48 am

      “Obama the muslim lover and holder will try to find some way to free him or some moron of a judge will try to find some loophole to free him so he can recruit or kill.”

      That could be the reason Obama insists on trying these people on U.S. soil because he knows the civilian courts have too many ways for a person to escape the consequences.

      He wanted to try one in New York City a couple of years ago, but New York City complained about the extra security until he changed his mind.

      Not too long ago Obama wanted Congress to approve the purchase of some prison that wasn’t in use any more so he could bring the detainees there and close Gitmo. Congress refused, but I read an article one day last week stating that the Obama administration went ahead and bought it themselves. I wonder how he did that and where he got the money. But he may be planning to use this to buy votes because he promised he would close Gitmo. I wonder if he could use an executive order to transfer all the detainees to this prison and close Gitmo while Congress is out of town on break.

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  9. Jasper HeathComment by Jasper Heath
    October 9, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

    “As is charged, these are men who … caused blood to be shed, lives to be lost, and families to be shattered.”

    Really? Hey, maybe we can use the same logic to go after Planned Parenthood?

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