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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 May 2004, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
Abu Hamza: US allegations
Abu Hamza
On 27 May 2004, the US Dept of Justice announced 11 terror-related charges against London-based radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza.

Here is the text of the statement by the then US Attorney General John Ashcroft, setting out the US allegations.

This morning, I am announcing the arrest in Great Britain of Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, also known as Abu Hamza.

Hamza is the imam of what was known as the Finsbury Park Mosque in London, prior to its closure by British authorities.

At the request of the United States, Hamza was arrested earlier today by the Metropolitan Police of New Scotland Yard. He is being held on terrorism charges filed in the United States.

Hamza faces charges of conspiracy to take hostages and hostage-taking in connection with an attack in Yemen in December 1998. The hostage-taking resulted in the death of four hostages.

Hamza is also charged with: conspiracy to provide and conceal material support to terrorists; and, providing and concealing material support and resources to terrorists and a foreign terrorist organisation, specifically to al-Qaeda.

These charges are related to Hamza's alleged attempts in late 1999 and early 2000 to set up a training camp for violent jihad in Bly, Oregon.

Hamza is also charged with providing material support to al-Qaeda for facilitating violent jihad in Afghanistan, as well as conspiracy to supply goods and services to the Taleban.

The maximum sentence for the hostage-taking charges is the death penalty or life imprisonment. Hamza also faces a maximum sentence of up to 100 years in prison on the additional charges contained in the indictment.

We are actively seeking Hamza's extradition from Great Britain to face justice in our courts on these serious charges.

An 11-count indictment was unsealed today that was returned by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York in April 2004.

An indictment contains allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.


The indictment alleges that from about 23 December 1998 until 29 December 1998 Hamza and others plotted to take hostages in an attack in Yemen.

According to the indictment, Hamza provided a satellite phone to the leader of a faction of the Islamic Army of Aden, and other co-conspirators, in a hostage-taking plot.

Mr Abu Hamza and supporter outside Finsbury Park in May

The indictment alleges that Hamza received three calls from that phone to his home on 27 December, one day before the terrorists stormed a caravan of vehicles carrying 16 tourists, including two Americans, taking them hostage.

The indictment further alleges that Hamza spoke to the co-conspirators after the attack, agreed to act as an intermediary for them, and ordered 500 British pounds worth of additional airtime for the satellite phone being used by the terrorists.

On 29 December 29 1998, when the Yemeni military attempted to rescue the hostages, Hamza's terrorist co-conspirators used the hostages as human shields.

The military did overpower the terrorists, but four hostages were killed and several others were wounded.

Oregon training camp

The indictment further alleges that Hamza conspired with others in October 1999, and provided support to create a training camp for violent jihad in Bly, Oregon.

The indictment alleges that on or about 25 October 1999 a co-conspirator communicated to Hamza that co-conspirators were stockpiling weapons and ammunition in the United States.

It is also alleged that around the same time, Hamza received a proposal by fax regarding the creation of the Bly jihad training camp.


The indictment also charges Hamza with material support violations for facilitating violent jihad in Afghanistan.

The indictment alleges that one of Hamza's co-conspirators, a US citizen, travelled from London to New York and raised money for Hamza's mosque.

Those funds were deposited into a mosque account that was later used to fund the travel - at the request of Hamza - of two co-conspirators to Afghanistan.

Later, in March or April of 2001, the indictment alleges Hamza sent directions to one of these co-conspirators to seek out a "front-line commander" at a training camp for violent jihad in Afghanistan.

Finally, the indictment alleges that Hamza conspired to supply goods and services to the Taleban.

It is alleged that from about the Spring of 2000 until 6 September 2001, Hamza posted messages on the Supporters of Sharia website, urging his followers to donate money, goods, and services to Taleban-sponsored programs in Taleban-controlled areas of Afghanistan.

Pledge on terror

The investigation that led to today's arrest was conducted by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York City, including the New York City Police Department, with the assistance of the FBI and other federal agencies across the country and around the world.

I thank Assistant Attorney General Christopher A. Wray of the Criminal Division and US Attorney David N. Kelley of the Southern District of New York for their leadership on this case.

The investigation and today's arrest also received substantial assistance from the Metropolitan Police at New Scotland Yard and the Crown Prosecution Service in Great Britain.

I thank them for their dedication and their ongoing efforts in the international war against terrorism.

This war against terrorism is being fought on many fronts. It is a war where innocent lives are endangered, not only by the terrorist who carries the bomb, but by those who recruit and equip terrorists.

As today's arrest makes clear, the Department of Justice is bringing the full weight of the criminal law against those who support the activities of terrorists.

The United States will use every available diplomatic, legal and administrative tool to pursue and prosecute those who facilitate terrorist activity, and we will not stop until the war on terrorism is won.

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