Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza and four other terrorism suspects have appeared before courts in the US after they were extradited from Britain. All face the possibility of being sentenced to life imprisonment.
Three of the five suspects appeared in New York's Manhattan Federal Court on Saturday to face a range of terror-related charges.
According to the US Department of Justice, Hamza faces charges including a kidnapping in 1998 in Yemen, the establishment of a terrorist training camp in the US and "facilitating violent jihad in Afghanistan." It is understood that Hamza will enter his plea on Tuesday, when he will be formally arraigned.
The notorious cleric, who wears a hook in place of his missing right hand, is alleged to have helped radicalize some of the world's highest-profile Islamist militants.
Authorities deemed that Hamza should not be allowed to wear his hook in court on health and safety grounds.
Meanwhile, Khaled al-Fawwaz pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to launch terrorist attacks against the US or its representatives overseas. Also entering a not guilty plea was Adel Abdul Bary, who is accused of involvement in 1998 attacks on US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
Charges at second court
Babar Hamad and Syed Ahsan pleaded not guilty before a federal judge in New Haven, Connecticut, to charges that they had aided al Qaeda by operating websites that promoted jihad.
"As is charged, these are men who were at the nerve centers of al Qaeda's acts of terror, and they caused blood to be shed, lives to be lost, and families to be shattered," US Attorney Preet Bahara said in a statement ahead of the appearance.
"After years of protracted legal battles, the extradition of these three alleged terrorists to the United States is a watershed moment in our nation's efforts to eradicate terrorism."
All five men face the possibility of a life term in prison if the most serious charges are proved against them. The terms of their extradition mean that the death sentence is not a possibility.
rc/av (AFP, dpa)
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