New York court sentences Muslim cleric to life imprisonment News
New York court sentences Muslim cleric to life imprisonment

[JURIST] The US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] on Friday sentenced [BBC report] Egyptian-born Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] to life in prison for supporting terrorism. Hamza was convicted and found guilty [JURIST report] of 11 criminal charges in May. The charges included planning to establish a jihad training camp in Oregon, conspiring to kidnap Americans in Yemen by enabling hostage-takers to speak on a satellite phone [Guardian report] and supplying the Taliban with goods and services. Judge Katherine B. Forrest [official profile] characterized Al-Masri’s actions as “barbaric” and “misguided” and told sources that she decided to sentence Al-Masri to death because she could not imagine a time in which his release would be safe. Judge Forrest said that it would be up to federal prison officials to decide where Al-Masri would be imprisoned.

Al-Masri pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] in October 2012 to all 11 of the charges he faced. His extradition was approved by the High Court of England and Wales in earlier that month after being temporarily delayed [JURIST reports] by the same court the previous month. The court’s decision came a week after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] gave its final approval of the extradition, which it had initially approved [JURIST reports] in April 2012. The ECHR’s decision marked a change in position for the court from its position over two years ago, when it stayed the extradition [JURIST report] of four terrorism suspects to the US, holding that potential punishment could violate European Convention on Human Rights [text] provisions on the prohibition of torture and inhumane or degrading treatment. The UK High Court approved the extradition [JURIST report] of two of the terrorism suspects to the US in 2006.