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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 February 2006, 18:00 GMT
Abu Hamza jailed for seven years
Abu Hamza

Controversial Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has been jailed for seven years after being found guilty of inciting murder and race hate.

Abu Hamza, 47, who preached at Finsbury Park Mosque, London, was convicted of 11 of the 15 charges he faced.

He has already been in jail since May 2004, and will appeal. His lawyer said he considered himself "a prisoner of faith" subject to "slow martyrdom".

US authorities are seeking the cleric's extradition for terror-related matters.

He is wanted on charges of trying to set up a "terrorist training camp" in the state of Oregon.

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

Mr Justice Hughes sentencing Abu Hamza
No one can say now what damage your words may have caused - no one can say whether any of your audiences, present or wider, acted on your words
Mr Justice Hughes

"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."

Outside the court, the cleric's solicitor, Muddassar Arani, confirmed his legal team will appeal against the conviction and fight the US extradition attempt.

A US Department of Justice said: "The United States stands ready to resume the extradition proceedings against Abu Hamza when British law allows."

Under the current law, the cleric will not be extradited until he has finished serving his sentence in the UK.

It is understood he will be eligible for parole early in 2008.

Guilty of 6 charges of soliciting to murder
Guilty of 3 charges related to "stirring up racial hatred"
Guilty of 1 charge of owning recordings related to "stirring up racial hatred"
Guilty of 1 charge of possessing "terrorist encyclopaedia"
Not guilty of 3 charges of soliciting to murder
Not guilty of 1 charge related to "stirring up racial hatred"

Abu Hamza was also found guilty of having audio and video tapes intended to encourage racial hatred and having a document for terror purposes.

He was jailed for 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 judge said all the sentences would run concurrently.

Following the Egyptian-born preacher's arrest, more than 3,000 audio cassettes and 600 videos were found of speeches intended for wider distribution.

He was demonised as the man with a hook or with one eye in a pantomime-like fashion
Massoud Shadjareh
Islamic Human Rights Commission

And a terror manual - an encyclopaedia of Afghani Jihad - found at his west London home listed Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty as possible targets for an attack.

A search of Finsbury Park Mosque, in north London, also led to the discovery of forged passports, CS gas, knives, guns, tents and guns capable of firing blanks.

BBC Home Editor Mark Easton said police believed the mosque, which is now under new management, was "linked to literally dozens of terrorist plots around Europe and beyond".

Jurors watched around 20 hours of video tapes of the cleric's sermons.

The court heard him describe Jews as the "enemy of Islam", tell followers to "bleed" the enemies of Islam and they should not rest until they created a "Muslim state".

In Abu Hamza's numerous lectures and sermons, other targets included homosexual vicars, the royal family and women in bikinis.

His defence was that he was encouraging Muslims to stand up for themselves.

David Perry, prosecuting, told the court that Abu Hamza made clear encouragements to kill when he gave lectures and sermons at the Finsbury Park mosque and in Luton, Blackburn and Whitechapel, east London.

Abu Hamza will remain at Belmarsh high security prison, where he has been held since his arrest.


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