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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 October, 2004, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Hamza faces 16 criminal charges
Abu Hamza
Abu Hamza was due to face a hearing over extradition to the US
Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has been charged with 16 offences including soliciting to murder and possession of a terrorist document.

He appeared at the magistrates' court at Belmarsh prison, where he has been held since May at the request of the US, who hope to extradite him.

Mr Abu Hamza is accused of encouraging people at public meetings to murder Jews and other non-believers in Islam.

The Egyptian-born cleric has always denied any involvement in terrorism.

Racial hatred

Mr Abu Hamza now faces 10 charges of soliciting to murder under section four of the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861.

Four charges were brought of using threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour with intent to stir up racial hatred.

Just one of the charges he faces is under anti-terrorism legislation.

He is accused under section 58 of the Terrorism Act of possessing a document which contained information "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".

Extradition on hold

Lastly, Mr Abu Hamza faces one count of having threatening, abusive or insulting audio and video recordings.

BBC home affairs correspondent Andy Tighe said the complexity of the case meant it was unlikely to come to trial before next year.

The UK charges mean Mr Abu Hamza's US extradition hearing - due to start on Tuesday - has been put on hold.

Hugo Keith, the lawyer representing the US authorities, asked the court to adjourn the extradition case until the domestic charges were dealt with.

Mr Keith said US officials would ask for the extradition case to be resumed as soon as the British proceedings were over.

The former preacher at the Finsbury Park Mosque, in north London, came to the UK in 1979. He received British citizenship after marrying a British woman.

Details of charges faced by Abu Hamza

Profile: Abu Hamza
19 Oct 04  |  UK

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