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Last Updated: Monday, 9 January 2006, 16:26 GMT
Hamza faces court ahead of trial
Abu Hamza
The hearing dealt with preliminary issues in the case
Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has appeared at the Old Bailey ahead of his trial for alleged offences committed while imam at a north London mosque.

The 47-year-old from west London is accused of soliciting people to murder Jews and other non-Muslims.

He is also accused of possessing a document "useful" to a terrorist and five race hate charges.

A jury of eight men and four women took the oath on Monday. They will return on Wednesday when the case is due to open.

The judge, Mr Justice Hughes, asked potential jurors if they or their close relatives were in the security services, connected with investigations into terrorist activities in the UK or "had any part in any of the media coverage in relation to this defendant".

Mr Abu Hamza faces a total of 15 charges, all alleged to have been committed before May 2004 when he was imam at the North London Central Mosque, in Finsbury Park.

Nine charges have been brought under the Offences Against the Person Act, alleging he solicited others at public meetings to murder Jews and other non-Muslims.

Four charges, brought under the Public Order Act, claim he used "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with the intention of stirring up racial hatred".

Another charge alleges possession of video and audio recordings, which he intended to distribute to stir up racial hatred.

A charge under section 58 of the Terrorism Act accuses him of possessing the Encyclopaedia of the Afghani Jihad, which contained information "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".


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