Hook-Handed Terror Defendant Fences with Prosecutor


The defense rested after hours of verbal fencing Tuesday in the trial of the Egyptian-born cleric allegedly behind the 1998 Yemen kidnapping that left four tourists dead.

Abu Hamza al-Masri , who is charged with 11 counts of terrorism, appeared belligerent under cross examination, and at times seemed to mock the prosecution.

“Try to concentrate. Just one at a time,” said Hamza, rebuking the prosecution for what he considered to be overly complex questions.

When questioned about whether he had information about how to make an improvised explosive device while in prison, Hamza wryly replied, raising his hooks, “hands-free? Let’s talk sensible.” Hamza lost both of his hands past the wrist in an explosives experiment in Pakistan.

Key to the prosecution’s case were documents relating to a satellite phone that Hamza purchased, and allegedly provided to the Yemeni kidnappers. Hamza’s birth name, Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, appeared frequently in the documents but Hamza insisted that this proved he was not secretly plotting.

“I never tried to hide before, after, during, anytime,” he said.

Prosecutors also tried to tie Hamza to known terrorists who frequented the Finsbury Park Mosque in London. Hamza insisted that he presided at the mosque, but had no control over its members.

“Would you charge a bus driver if one of his passengers did something?,” he asked. “The only link between me [and the other men] is the rubbish bin.”

Jurors were expected to hear closing arguments from both sides tomorrow.

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