Oct 7, 2012 No Comments ›› Chuck Biscuits
Excerpted from The Daily Caller: Egyptian-born Abu Hamza al-Masri, the radical Muslim cleric suspected of helping kidnap American tourists in Yemen in 1998 and attempting to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon, arrived early Saturday in lower Manhattan from Britain after losing a nearly decade-long extradition fight.
The partially blind al-Masri, who taught at London’s infamous Finsbury Park mosque, is also believed to have mentored Sept. 11 conspirator Zacharias Moussaoui and Richard Reid, the failed “shoe bomber” who tried to destroy an airliner with explosives.
In the Manhattan courthouse, al-Masri’s court-appointed lawyer asked that his prosthetic hands be returned immediately “so he can use his arms.” The preacher typically uses hooks on his arms, but he showed up in court with exposed stumps, for reasons that were not immediately clear.
“Mr. Mustafa [al-Masri's alias] would appreciate if the Bureau of Prisons would return to him his prosthetics so he can use his arms,” the attorney, Sabrina Schroff, told the court.
“He needs a dictating machine because he can’t take notes,” Schroff added. ”To the extent that Mr. Mustafa does not receive his prosthetics immediately, he will need someone to help with the care of his daily needs. … I ask that the Bureau of Prisons attend to that immediately otherwise he will not be able to function in a civilized manner.”
Schroff told reporters outside the courthouse after the 13-minute court hearing that her client seemed like a respectable man.
“”He seemed very much of a gentleman,” Schroff said.
Along with several co-defendants — including Khaled al-Fawwaz, Adel Abdul Bary, who have been implicated in the deadly 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa, and Syed Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad, who allegedly ran websites designed to funnel recruits and trainees to al-Qaida — al-Masri had sought to remain in Britain primarily because of human rights concerns.
The co-defendants, who each pleaded not guilty, believe they will face inhumane conditions in U.S. prisons and think there is not enough proof to sustain the allegations against them, according to court documents.
The Extradition Act 2003, signed by Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George W. Bush in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, permits the extradition of U.K. citizens to the U.S. if a “reasonable suspicion” exists that they committed a crime against U.S. law. Prior to that act’s ratification, the standard of proof required to extradite a British citizen was significantly higher, requiring a much stronger prima facie case.