Page last updated at 18:17 GMT, Tuesday, 7 February 2006

Timeline: Hamza trial

Abu Hamza
Abu Hamza was convicted of 11 charges
Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has been jailed for seven years for inciting murder and stirring up racial hatred.

Abu Hamza was found guilty of 11 out of 15 charges. After the verdict his solicitor Muddassar Arani said he would appeal against his conviction.

Here is a summary of the evidence in the Old Bailey trial:


Passing sentence at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Hughes told Abu Hamza: "I do not make the mistake that you represent Islamic thinking generally.

"You are entitled to your views and in this country you are entitled to express them, but only up to the point where you incite murder or use language calculated to incite racial hatred.

"That is what you did."

After nearly a week of deliberations the jury at the Old Bailey trial had delivered 11 guilty verdicts.

Abu Hamza was sentenced to seven years for the six charges of soliciting murder, 21 months for the three incitement to racial hatred charges, three years for possessing "threatening, abusive or insulting recordings" and three and a half years for having a document useful to terrorists.


The jury at the Old Bailey trial retired to consider its verdict.


Mr Hamza was "not on trial for his political views" unless they led him to commit the offences on which he was charged, the trial judge warned.

As he started summing up the case, Mr Justice Hughes said: "It is not an offence to describe living in England as a toilet.

"It is not an offence to suggest western societies are corrupt or have no moral basis."

He also told the jury they may object to views expressed in Mr Hamza's speeches, but they needed to put aside their personal views.


The trial judge, Mr Justice Hughes, dismissed conspiracy theories after he was burgled during the weekend.

He told the jury to forget newspaper reports about the incident, in which a laptop was stolen from his London home.

Nothing relating to the case was taken, he said.

In the closing speech for the defence, Edward Fitzgerald told the jury that the defendant's speeches may appear deeply offensive at times - but offensiveness did not make them a crime.

"He has told you repeatedly that he never intended to incite murder and the prosecution have not proven any such intention," he said.


In his closing speech for the prosecution, David Perry alleged Mr Hamza was a recruiting sergeant for terrorism and murder.

He used "the most dangerous weapons available" - Islam, his civic position and words, he said.

When Mr Hamza gave evidence in his defence, he told the jury, "he did everything to avoid answering questions".

He made clear encouragements to kill in his sermons to audiences, he said.


Mr Abu Hamza denied urging a congregation to go out and murder.

The job of a preacher is not to ignite people's anger, but direct it, but now I am being punished for it
Mr Abu Hamza

Prosecutor David Perry told the Old Bailey trial he urged congregation members to kill, ambush or poison for the Palestinian uprising.

Mr Perry described Mr Abu Hamza's performance at Finsbury Park mosque as "powerful words spoken by a preacher to a tinderbox congregation who were angry".

Mr Abu Hamza agreed the listeners were angry but he denied trying to "ignite" them.


Under cross-examination, Mr Abu Hamza claimed the Foreign Office and the media were controlled by Jews.

If a doctor kills 250 of his patients there is not a single word about his religion
Mr Abu Hamza on killer doctor Harold Shipman

UK foreign policy was being hijacked by friends of Israel, he added.

He said he did not believe in the state of Israel "because it means state of my death - holocaust".

And he said Jews in the UK and the US also "controlled money supply".


The jury heard Mr Abu Hamza allege that his trial for soliciting murder was politically motivated.

I'm not trying to portray you at all, Sheikh Hamza
Mr Perry

He accused prosecutors of attempting to try "an idea" and make a case from nothing.

"These are ideas," he said. "Yes and no does not help at all. The problem is that you are describing ideas and you want to prosecute me because of these ideas."

The cleric told the Old Bailey he was being portrayed as a "monomaniac" who had sought to direct people to act in certain ways.


Mr Abu Hamza denied that he would advocate a terrorist attack on any civilian target.

Most of the reward in Islam is when people sacrifice their time, sacrifice their money or sacrifice their blood
Mr Abu Hamza

He also told jurors he had not known Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower were referred to as potential targets in an encyclopaedia seized at his home by police last year.

Prosecutors said the Encyclopaedia of Afghani Jihad, which contained a dedication to Osama Bin Laden, was a terrorism "manual".

Mr Abu Hamza said he had been given the encyclopaedia and only kept it because he thought information and maps could be used for relief work.


In his first day of giving evidence to the trial, Mr Abu Hamza told the Old Bailey that he did not encourage followers to murder, in his sermons between 1997 and 2000.

Racism is one of the greatest sins - I actually condemned it
Mr Abu Hamza

He also denied inciting people to hate members of the Jewish community in the UK or abroad and denounced racism.

And when he was asked if it was his intention to incite hatred towards Jewish people, he replied that the Koran said racism was unlawful.

Earlier, his defence lawyer said it was important jurors judged Mr Abu Hamza on evidence given in the trial rather than what had been written about him.


Mr Abu Hamza released a statement after his arrest in 2005 in which he said he had "numerous discussions" with police and MI5 long before that, the jury heard.

There is a hate campaign which has taken place against me
Mr Abu Hamza

The cleric also said in the statement that three video tapes the police were using as evidence in his trial had been in their possession since the late 1990s.

He also said that the "terror encyclopaedia" seized in a police raid on his home had been a gift, and that he had not read it.


Mr Abu Hamza accused Western leaders, in a sermon, of being "sugar daddies" to Israel because they were being blackmailed, the jury was told.

They are enemies to one another and Allah has cursed them
Mr Abu Hamza
Video shown to court

He also criticised the "dogs of the West" for not condemning Israel.

"They [Israelis] got a file for each one of these politicians, how much homosexual you are, how many money he has taken as bribe, whom his wife goes with, which child he has been abusing and they got all this against them," he says in a videotape from the October 2000 sermon.

Jews are enemies "to one another and Allah has cursed them," he says. "This is why he send Hitler for them."


The jury heard that Mr Abu Hamza, in a 1999 sermon, preached that killing non-Muslims was justified even for no reason.

Killing an adulterer, even if he is a Muslim is OK. Killing a Kafir who is fighting you is OK
Mr Abu Hamza
Video shown to court

"Killing a Kafir [infidel] for any reason you can say it is OK even if there is no reason for it," he is seen saying in a videotape.

"Killing an adulterer, even if he is a Muslim is OK. Killing a Kafir who is fighting you is OK," he adds.

And he argues that Islamic beliefs should be spread with the help of the sword.


Jurors watched a video-taped sermon showing Mr Abu Hamza underneath an "Al Jihad" banner and talking of living among the "enemies of Islam".

It looks like, unfortunately, that we have been forced, unfortunately, to be inside a toilet
Mr Abu Hamza
Video shown to court

The tape shows Mr Abu Hamza addressing a meeting in east London in 1997/1998 and comparing life among these "Kafirs" to living "inside a toilet".

In a question and answer session, he is asked by a member of the audience how to go about Jihad. He said the first thing was to be trained.

He tells the audience that they must "bleed the enemy" and then accept life on the run.


Lawyers outlining their case against Mr Abu Hamza told jurors he had instructed followers it was their "religious duty to kill" non-Muslims.

No religion condones the murder or killing of innocent men, women or children or the dissemination of hatred and bigotry
David Perry

Jurors were also told of a "terrorism manual" that was found at his home in 2004, which the prosecution claimed explained how to make explosives and organise a terrorist unit, suggesting potential targets, including Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower.

Prosecutor David Perry said Mr Abu Hamza railed against alcohol, adultery, democracy and said Muslims had an "obligation" to fight and kill non-believers.

Mr Perry said about 2,700 audio tapes and 570 video cassettes of Mr Hamza's talks and sermons had been found at his home and that some formed the basis of the prosecution's case.

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