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Radical British imam sentenced to life

January 9, 2015

A district court in New York has sentenced the radical British cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri to life in prison. The court found him guilty on terrorism-related charges, including the 1998 kidnapping of tourists in Yemen.

Terrorprediger Abu Hamsa Al-Masri in New York schuldig gesprochen
Image: dpa

Radical Islamic cleric Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, a.k.a. Abu Hamza al-Masri, was found guilty on charges relating to terrorism, including his role in a 1998 kidnapping of tourists in Yemen, which resulted in the deaths of four hostages, and on charges of planning to build a military terrorist training camp in the US state of Oregon.

Though Abu Hamza had maintained his innocence, US Judge Katherine Forrest for the district of Manhattan said on Friday that he 56-year-old's actions were "barbaric" and "misguided."

"You have not expressed sympathy or remorse for the victims of the Yemeni kidnapping," Forrest told Abu Hamza, adding that he would likely not change were he released and thus only a life sentence would ensure he could never again incite violence against innocent people.

The cleric had gained notoriety for his vitriolic sermons at the Finsbury Park Mosque in London. Authorities in the US and UK said the cleric, who is of Egyptian origin, helped inspire a generation of militants, including the would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid.

Abu Hamza, who is a missing one eye and both hands, was dubbed "Hook" by British tabloids. Prior to his extradition to the US in 2012, he had spent eight years in prison in Britain for inciting violence.

sb/glb (AP, Reuters)