The US is readying for the sentencing of radical preacher Abu Hamza – a man accused of "waging a global war of jihad against those he considered infidels” and who faces life in prison after being convicted of trying to establish an al-Qaeda training camp in America.
The 56-year-old, whose full name is Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, is scheduled to be sentenced in New York on Friday morning local time. The hearing comes amid reports that the security services believe of the two suspects in the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris was mentored by an associate of Abu Hamza,
He will be sentenced before district judge Katherine Forrest at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan courthouse in Manhattan, having been convicted last May of a series of terror-related charges.
Lawyers for Abu Hamza, who lost both hands in an explosion and who once headed London’s Finsbury Park mosque, have said he should serve his time in a prison medical facility. His severe disabilities mean it would be wrong to send him to a high-security federal prison in Colorado, his attorneys argued before a judge.
They argued that by sending him to the prison, the US would be reneging on assurances given to judges in the UK to secure his 2012 extradition to America.
The Associated Press said that Hamza was convicted in May of aiding terrorists who kidnapped tourists in Yemen in 1998 and others who plotted to open a terror training camp in Oregon. Federal sentencing guidelines call for a life sentence.
In court papers filed last month, Hamza’s attorneys said he would face unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment if his amputated forearms, psoriasis, diabetes and high blood pressure were not taken into account at his sentencing on Friday. They recommended a prison term of less than life.
Prosecutors responded in court papers on Friday that the government had never promised the UK that Hamza, who was tried as Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, would not be assigned to the jail.
Prosecutors also insisted life in prison was the only appropriate sentence, saying Hamza “waged a global war of jihad against those he considered infidels. He sent men to American soil to learn how to fight and kill in support of that war”.