One of the world’s most notorious terrorists was sentenced to life with no possibility of parole by Manhattan Federal Court Judge Kathleen Forrest on January 9, 2015.
Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Masri, born Mustafa Kamel Mustafa in Egypt in 1958, deserves both his notoriety and his life sentence. Granted citizenship in the United Kingdom through marriage to a British citizen, he was convicted in Great Britain of 11 of 15 crimes under the Terrorism Act and served seven years imprisonment.
Prior to his conviction in Great Britain, he was arrested in 2004 on a U. S. extradition warrant for 11 charges, including conspiracy to take hostages in Yemen, funding terrorism and establishing a terrorist training camp in Bly, Oregon. After serving his sentence in Great Britain, he was extradited to the U. S., and tried in Manhattan Federal Court. During his jury trial, Mustafa testified that he still loves Osama bin Laden and believes the 9/11 attack on America was a good thing, which probably didn’t help his case much. He was convicted of all 11 charges in May 2014 and was scheduled for sentencing in early 2015.
During the sentencing phase, Mustafa testified that his human rights had been violated and that his treatment by U. S. officials was degrading. He also equated his sentence with a crucifixion and claimed that he was subjected to torture while in custody. The Court also received letters from his second wife and one of his eight children, claiming that they are proud of his community efforts in the United Kingdom and that he taught them a positive outlook on life. Finally, his lawyer requested Mustafa not be sent to the U. S. “Supermax” ADX Florence Prison in Colorado because of his physical disabilities.
Judge Forrest was not sympathetic. Describing Mustafa as evil and barbaric, she noted his utter lack of remorse for his victims, some of whom were killed while kidnap victims in Yemen. Judge Forrest stated, “Evil comes in many forms” and that Mustafa disguised his true colors behind his religion. She then imposed a sentence of life for the 2 counts associated with kidnapping and 100 years for the other 9 counts, to be served concurrently. At this point, it will be up to the U. S. Bureau of Prisons as to whether Mustafa will be sent to our “Supermax” prison in Colorado or to another prison.
Mustafa’s attorney states that he plans to appeal.
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