Abu Hamza Guilty Verdict Ends Long Legal Battle

The London cleric known for his fiery sermons was found guilty on 11 terrorism-related charges just blocks from Ground Zero.
Posted at 10:00 PM, May 19, 2014

America's decade-long effort to prosecute a radical Islamic cleric has ended in a guilty verdict.

Abu Hamza could face life in prison after conviction on all 11 terrorism-related charges against him. He's an Egyptian-born imam who rose to prominence in London. It took the U.S. eight years to extradite him from Britain for trial. (Via ITV)

New York prosecutors called Hamza a trainer of terrorists. A jury convicted him of supporting hostage-takers in Yemen in 1998 and of sending men to establish a jihadist training camp in Oregon. His defense team argued Hamza was guilty only of holding radical opinions, including voicing support for Osama bin Laden after 9/11. (Via BBC, The New York Times, Sky News)

"Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, 9/11, World Trade Center, U.S.S. Cole — all those things, which our client was not charged with, specifically entered into the trial more than we believe it should have." (Via BBC)

Despite the fervor of American prosecutors to punish Hamza, the guilty verdict Monday has made a larger splash in the U.K., where the imam built his church — a congregation that reportedly once included shoe bomber Richard Reid. (Via The Guardian, Belfast Telegraph)

REPORTER: "This is a significant victory for the U.S. authorities." (Via Sky News)

And across both British and American headlines, most called him Hamza, though that's actually his alias. Many others opted for Mustafa Mustafa, his real name and the name he was tried under. While the New York Daily News just went with "Hook-handed London cleric." Classy. (Via The Wall Street Journal, WCBS)

Monday, the U.S. Justice Department propped up the guilty verdict against Hamza as evidence that civilian trials, rather military ones at Guantanamo, were capable of delivering justice for accused terrorists. 

Hamza's trial took place just blocks from Ground Zero in Manhattan, something his defense team wasn't happy about. The cleric's sentencing is scheduled for September 9.