UK & World News
Abu Hamza Denies Terror Charges In US
Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges in the US, including hostage-taking and trying to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon.
Hamza, who was extradited from the UK last Friday after losing his final appeal to remain in the UK, appeared without the trademark metal hook he uses in place of a right hand.
Wearing blue prison clothes, the heavily-bearded 54-year-old suspect's only statement to court was to confirm to US District Judge Katherine Forrest that he would enter a not guilty plea.
The Egyptian-born preacher was not handcuffed, appeared calm, and spoke several times to his lawyer Jeremy Schneider.
Mr Schneider told reporters his client was unhappy about the removal of his prosthetics, which he insisted Hamza needs to eat and write, "to do what he has to do to survive in prison".
Prison authorities would not comment on individual cases, but confirmed that prosthetics are removed if deemed to be potentially weapon-like.
Mr Schneider said he understood Hamza was able to use his hook and other prosthetics for a short period each day, which was not enough.
He said: "As you can well imagine, he's not happy he's in a situation like this without use of his prosthetics."
The former imam of Finsbury Park mosque was jailed in the UK in 2006 for seven years for soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred.
In the US, he is accused of helping to abduct 16 hostages, including two US tourists, in Yemen in 1998, advocating violent jihad in Afghanistan in 2001, and conspiring to establish a jihad training camp in Bly, Oregon, between June 2000 and December 2001.
Hamza is being kept in the Manhattan Correctional Centre, close to the Manhattan court house where his trial is due to take place.
It is not far from Ground Zero, the site of the attacks Hamza once praised as "a towering day in world history".
Judge Forrest set the trial date for August 26, 2013.
Lawyers are due to meet again late this month after sharing 8,000 documents, videos and recordings intended for use by the prosecution as evidence.