British trial of Muslim cleric Abu Hamza to begin
Sun 8 Jan 2006
LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri goes on trial in London on Monday on 16 charges of stirring up racial hatred and urging the killing of non-Muslims.
Hamza, who is also wanted by the United States, will be the most high-profile figure to be tried in Britain charged with such offences since the Sept. 11 attacks on Washington and New York.
The Egyptian-born cleric faces 10 charges of using public meetings to incite his followers to kill non-Muslims. Four of the charges say he urged the killing of Jews.
He is also accused of using threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour with intent to stir up racial hatred, one charge of possessing threatening, abusive or insulting sound recordings, and one charge under anti-terrorism laws.
If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Hamza, usually pictured with a steel hook on his right arm after losing both hands and an eye in Afghanistan fighting Soviet forces, has long been a target of Britain's tabloid newspapers.
U.S. authorities, who have requested the extradition of the former nightclub security guard on 11 charges, have had their case put on hold until the British trial at the Old Bailey in London is completed. It is expected to last three weeks.
Damn. Missing one eye, both hands and wanted by the U.S. He doesn't answer to "Lucky" by any chance does he?