US trial date set for Abu Hamza

Salisbury Journal: Abu Hamza has denied terror charges in the United States Abu Hamza has denied terror charges in the United States

Radical cleric Abu Hamza has pleaded not guilty in New York to charges that he conspired to set up a terrorist training camp in the US.

Hamza appeared in Manhattan federal court.

Earlier two of the suspected terrorists extradited from England with Hamza made their first appearance before a different New York judge who will oversee their trial.

Khaled al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary are charged in a plot to blow up US embassies in Africa. The attacks killed 224 people. They were indicted in a case that also charged Osama bin Laden. Both pleaded not guilty on Saturday. The judge set their trial date for October 2013.

Hamza entered his plea shortly before US District Judge Katherine B. Forrest set an August 26 trial date for him. He is also accused of helping abduct 16 hostages, two of them American tourists, in Yemen in 1998.

Hamza, indicted under the name Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, became well known in the 1990s as his Finsbury Park Mosque in London became a training ground for extremist Islamists including September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and "shoe bomber" Richard Reid. He had been jailed since 2004 in Britain on separate charges.

His lawyers said he suffers from depression, chronic sleep deprivation, diabetes and other ailments.

His court-appointed lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, said on Saturday that he needed the use of his arms and wanted his prosthetic hooks back. "Otherwise, he will not be able to function in a civilised manner."

A US Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman, said: "In general, if an inmate arrives at any of our facilities with a prosthetic that we believe could pose a danger, it would not be permitted inside," she said, adding that the inmate would be medically evaluated to determine if other accommodations or devices would be appropriate.

Hamza is being held prior to trial in the same federal lockup where a prison guard lost an eye and was left brain damaged when he was stabbed with a sharpened comb in 2000 by a terrorism defendant awaiting trial in the embassy bombings plot.

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