Obama and Holder have given these non-U.S. citizens all the rights of U.S. citizens and taxpayers are likely paying for their Korans, halal food, and Islamic prayer mats – and will be for the next 30-40 years if they are found guilty.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – One-eyed radical Islamist cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri made his first appearance in federal court in New York on Saturday after Britain extradited him to the United States to face trial and a potential life sentence on terrorism charges.
The Egyptian-born Hamza, 54, entered U.S. District Court in Manhattan after being refused the prosthetics – including his signature metal hook – that he wears because of his missing forearms.
Hamza is accused by Washington of supporting al Qaeda, aiding a kidnapping in Yemen and plotting to open a training camp for militants in the United States.
He was flown late on Friday to the United States along with four other men also wanted on U.S. terrorism charges.
Hamza is missing both his hands and an eye, injuries he says he sustained while living in Afghanistan in the 1980s and carrying out humanitarian work. Authorities say he was fighting for the Mujahideen against the Soviet Union.
Dressed in blue prison garb, Hamza spoke only once during Saturday’s 10-minute court hearing before Magistrate Judge Frank Maas. Through his court-appointed lawyer, Hamza asked that his prosthetics be returned to him and that he receive proper medical attention. It was not clear why authorities did not allow him the prosthetics in court.
He will not be asked to enter a plea until he returns to court on Tuesday.
Under the terms of British and European court rulings authorizing the extradition, the five suspects must be tried in U.S. civilian courts and federal prosecutors cannot seek the death penalty.
U.S. officials said they were pleased Hamza and the other men would finally answer to the long-standing charges.
The extradition “is a watershed moment in our nation’s efforts to eradicate terrorism,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.
Saudi native Khalid al-Fawwaz, 50, and Egyptian Adel Abdul Bary, 52, also appeared in federal court in New York on Saturday. Both pleaded not guilty to charges they and others were involved in the 1998 al Qaeda bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.
Also on Saturday, British citizens Babar Ahmad, 38, and Syed Talha Ahsan, 33, charged with supporting al Qaeda and other militant groups by operating various websites promoting Islamic holy war, pleaded not guilty before a federal judge in New Haven, Connecticut, court records showed.
This case could be the impetus for Obama to bring all Gitmo terrorists to the U.S. mainland for indefinite detention, trial and serving sentences. Just last week, Obama ordered Holder to use DOJ funds – bypassing Congressional bans – to purchase a prison in Illinois. It will be used to hold Gitmo terrorists unless Congress does its job.
As Congressman Frank Wolf exposed in 2009 although the media coordinated a near total blackout of the event, Holder planned clandestine resettlement of Gitmo detainees in Virginia:
…Holder attempted to orchestrate a secret transfer of Uyghur detainees to northern Virginia for release earlier this spring, it became clear that he had no intention of informing Congress of his intentions. According to Newsweek magazine, ‘As part of their efforts to shut down the Guantánamo Bay detention center, Obama Administration officials were poised in late April to make a bold, stealthy move: they instructed the U.S. Marshals Service to prepare an aircraft and a Special Ops group to fly two Chinese Uighurs, and up to five more on subsequent flights, from Gitmo to northern Virginia for resettlement…
Were you aware?