UK & World News
Abu Hamza 'Moved To London For Western Life'
Extradited British terror suspect Abu Hamza has told a New York court that part of the reason he moved from Egypt to England was because he "always looked forward to the Western life, American style".
Hamza said that he initially lived "on the wrong side of morality", working as a bouncer and as a co-manager of a strip club in Soho, London.
Giving evidence without his prosthetic arms, he looked relaxed in the stand, describing how his first wife pressured him to live a more respectable lifestyle and teach her about Islam.
Speaking slowly and clearly, Hamza told the court he was not ready for this, and that he wanted to pursue his dreams "as you see in the films".
The defence team had hoped to emphasise that because of his community and religious connections as a cleric at Finsbury Park mosque, Hamza had occasionally been consulted by the British intelligence services and Scotland Yard for advice and assistance, and that his intent was "to keep the streets of London safe".
The judge has ruled that such arguments should not be presented to the jury, but Hamza's lawyer told Sky News he planned to challenge that decision.
Hamza's testimony in his own defence is part of an attempt to present an alternative view of the man prosecutors have accused of exporting global terror from his base in London.
He is charged with 11 terror-related counts, including conspiring to kidnap Americans in Yemen, setting up a terror training camp in Oregon and providing support to Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
His appearance in the witness box was the first time Abu Hamza had spoken publicly for 10 years.
Asked by his lawyer if he would tell the truth to the federal court he said: "I am no stranger to prison.
"If my freedom comes at the expense of my dignity and my faith, I don't want it, simple as that."
Hamza served seven years in prison in the UK for using his sermons to incite murder and racial hatred.
He was extradited to the US in 2012 after a lengthy legal battle.
He denies the charges against him. If found guilty he faces life in prison.