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New York, NY - Judge Resists Call To Delay Imam's Terror Trial

Published on: January 14, 2013 02:25 PM
By: Reuters
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File photo of Muslim Cleric Abu Hamza gives a pray meeting, 28 March 2003, from the street outside a North London Mosque after being banned from the Mosque for inciting racial hatred. It may be Hamza’s last meeting as a new bill going through Parliament enables citizens with dual nationalality to be deported. <br />
EPA PHOTO / GERRY PENNY New York, NY - A federal judge on Monday rejected suggestions by lawyers for Abu Hamza al-Masri, the radical Islamic cleric awaiting trial on terrorism charges, to push back the trial date five months.

The Egyptian-born al-Masri, who is missing both hands and is prohibited from using his signature metal hook prosthetics outside of his jail cell, has pleaded not guilty to 11 criminal counts including hostage taking, providing material support to the al Qaeda network and conspiracy to provide goods and services to the Taliban.

He could face life in prison if found guilty at his trial, set to begin on August 26.

Attorneys for al-Masri said they are overwhelmed by the volume of evidence they need to review before trial, a problem they said is exacerbated by unrelated trials they need to attend to in the near future.

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Al-Masri’s inability to help them review evidence on a computer because he has not been outfitted with new prosthetics, and extra restrictions the government has placed on al-Masri’s ability to communicate from jail, have also hindered them, they said.

“We are just scratching the surface” of the evidence, al-Masri’s attorney, Jeremy Schneider, told Judge Katherine Forrest in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

“It’s just massive,” said Schneider, who suggested the trial be pushed back to January 2014.

But Forrest, exasperated with the slow pace of the discovery process, remained committed to the August start date.

“This defendant is entitled to a speedy and public trial and he’s going to get a speedy and public trial,” said Forrest, who noted that she had originally wanted to start the trial in April.

The judge directed al-Masri’s attorneys to write her a letter spelling out specific requests that could alleviate their concerns.

For eight years al-Masri fought extradition from Britain, where he had become a naturalized citizen, before authorities flew him to the United States last year along with four other men wanted on U.S. terrorism charges. He is being held in the maximum security section of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, steps away from the courthouse.

Al-Masri, who is also missing an eye, has said he sustained his injuries in Afghanistan during humanitarian work in the 1980s. He has asked the court to refer to him by his birth name, Mustafa Kamel Mustafa.



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Read Comments (3)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jan 14, 2013 at 02:53 PM Liepa Says:

Even as this menuval ben menuval is fighting for his freedom, he's being represented by a jewish lawyer. That must be eating from the inside out!

2

 Jan 14, 2013 at 07:20 PM I_Am_Me Says:

Humanitarian work my foot!

3

 Jan 14, 2013 at 11:27 PM WIZENS Says:

@i am me,
not your foot ! his foot look at the pic -:)

4

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