NEW YORK (AP) – A partially-blind extremist cleric from Egypt and four other terrorism suspects have appeared in court in New York City and Connecticut, hours after they were brought to the United States from England to face trial. They had fought for years to avoid extradition.
The preacher, Abu Hamza al-Masri, didn’t enter a plea to charges that he conspired to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon, and that he helped abduct 16 hostages in Yemen in 1998 — including two Americans.
The four other men pleaded not guilty. The two who appeared along with al-Masri in New York are accused of taking part in the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998.
The other two were arraigned in Connecticut on charges of providing terrorists in Afghanistan and Chechnya with cash, recruits and equipment. A prosecutor calls the extraditions a “watershed moment” in the fight against terrorism.
British Prime Minister David Cameron says he’s “delighted” that al-Masri is now out of the country. He’s been in a British jail since 2004 on separate charges.