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Abu Hamza Pleads Not Guilty To Terrorism Charges In New York Court

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Radical preacher Abu Hamza has entered a plea of not guilty to terrorism charges in a New York court.

He told District Judge Katherine Forrest that he denies conspiring with US nationals to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon, according to the BBC.

The extremist also faces charges of kidnapping tourists in Yemen. His trial has been set for August next year.

abu hamza

Security is set up around the court prior to Hamza's hearing

Two other suspected terrorists extradited from England with Hamza - Khaled al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary - appeared before a different Manhattan judge earlier in the day charged with plotting to blow up US embassies in Africa in 1998.

Hamza has been in a British jail since 2004 on separate charges of inciting racial hatred and encouraging followers to kill non-Muslims.

Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan were also handed over to US authorities and face charges in Connecticut relating to websites that allegedly sought to raise money, recruit fighters and seek equipment for terrorists in Afghanistan and Chechnya.

hamza

Hamza pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges

"I am pleased the decision of the court meant that these men, who used every available opportunity to frustrate and delay the extradition process over many years, could finally be removed," home secretary Theresa May said.

"This government has co-operated fully with the courts and pressed at every stage to ensure this happened.

"We have worked tirelessly, alongside the US authorities, the police and the prison service, to put plans in place so that these men could be handed over within hours of the court's decision. It is right that these men, who are all accused of very serious offences, will finally face justice."

The suspects had made last-ditch challenges against removal from the UK which were rejected by two High Court judges in London on Friday.

The five terror suspects were transported from HMP Long Lartin in Worcestershire to RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk in a police convoy which arrived at the base at about 10pm.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police's extradition unit handed the men over to US officials before they were taken aboard two planes which left British soil just before midnight, Scotland Yard said.

Lawyers for Hamza, 54, who has one eye and hooks in place of hands he claims to have lost fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, argued in court that his deteriorating physical and mental health meant it would be "oppressive" to send him to a US prison.

They said he suffers from depression, chronic sleep deprivation, diabetes and other ailments.

The judges said his conditions could be treated in the US, and concluded that "there is nothing to suggest that extradition in this case would be unjust or oppressive".

While Hamza has been portrayed in the British media as one of the most dangerous men in the country, the case of Babar Ahmad has raised concerns among legal experts and human rights advocates.

Ahmad, a London computer expert, is accused in the US of running terrorist-funding websites.

He and Ahsan both face charges including using a website to provide support to terrorists and conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure persons or damage property in a foreign country.

Ahmad and Ahsan were expected in court in Connecticut where an internet service provider was allegedly used to host one of the websites.

Some lawyers and lawmakers have expressed concerns about the case, because Britain agreed to extradite him even though his alleged crimes were committed in Britain and British courts declined to prosecute him for lack of evidence.

In prison since 2004, Ahmad has been held without charge for the longest period of any British citizen detained since the 11 September attacks.