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Muslim cleric Abu Hamza convicted in New York of federal terrorism charges

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A federal jury in New York City on Monday morning found Muslim imam Abu Hamza guilty of supporting terrorist acts committed by Islamist groups such as al-Qaida, according to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

The jury heard testimony and saw evidence that the 56-year-old Hamza assisted the Islamist kidnappers of tourists in Yemen in 1998 and that he tried to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon. While the evidence against him was overwhelming, Hamza, who was an active cleric in the United Kingdom and was extradited to the United States in 2012, denied all the charges.

A federal judge will impose sentence later this year. Hamza is facing a life sentence.

Upon hearing about the conviction, Attorney General Eric Holder issued a statement on Hamza:

“In both word and deed, Abu Hamza supported the cause of violent extremism. His conviction is as just as it was swift. This case is all the more noteworthy since it continues a trend of successful prosecutions of top terrorism suspects in our federal court system. With each efficiently delivered guilty verdict against a top al Qaeda-linked figure, the debate over how to best seek justice in these cases is quietly being put to rest.”

Abu Hamza became a well-known radical Muslim in the U.K. after a series of sermons he gave outside a London mosque. In one of those sermons, he praised the al-Qaida terrorists who perpetrated the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

He was extradited from the U.K. to the U.S. after spending seven years in a British prison for inciting murder and hate speech. In New York, the federal jury of eight men and four women reached a unanimous guilty verdict on all 11 terror charges.

Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said: "The defendant stands convicted, not for what he said, but for what he did. Abu Hamza was not just a preacher of faith, but a trainer of terrorists. Once again our civilian system of justice has proven itself up to the task of trying an accused terrorist and arriving at a fair and just and swift result."

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