Egyptian-born Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri pleaded not guilty to charges that he conspired with Seattle men to set up a terrorist training camp in Bly, Oregon, in 1999. The camp would have provided material support to al-Qaida. The US government also accused Hamza of attempting to organize support for the Taliban in Afghanistan and helping to abduct 16 hostages, including two Americans, in Yemen in 1998; four hostages were killed.
The Corvallis Gazette-Times reports that Hamza and four other men were sent from England to the United States to face terrorism charges. Hamza has been jailed in England since 2004 on separate charges.
According to NBC News, Hamza, a British citizen, became well-known as the imam of London’s Finsbury Park Mosque where he preached militant jihadism. The mosque was used as a facility to train the infamous September 11 terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui and “shoe bomber” Richard Reid.
US District Judge Katherine B. Forrest set the trial to begin August 26, 2013. If Hamza is found guilty, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
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