NEW YORK: The jury in the terror trial of Abu Hamza was shown videos of him praising the 9/11 hijackers for the first time on Monday.
The panel of 12 saw an interview in which Hamza said he was “happy” about the September 11 2001 attacks in which terrorists flew planes in to the World Trade Center.
“Everyone was happy when the planes hit the World Trade Center,” Abu Hamza said in the undated film played in a U.S. court where the former imam of the Finsbury Park Mosque in London faces terrorism-related charges.
Prosecutors have accused the one-eyed, handless Abu Hamza of trying to set up a jihadist training camp in Oregon, giving assistance to militants who took 16 Western tourists hostage in Yemen in 1998, a kidnapping that ended with the deaths of three Britons and an Australian, and raising money and supplies for al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
If convicted of the most serious charges, the Egyptian-born Abu Hamza would face life in prison. He previously served several years in prison in Britain for inciting his followers to kill non-believers.
Defence lawyers have argued that Abu Hamza, known for his fiery sermons in London, is responsible only for using inflammatory words, not for any overt criminal acts.
Lawyers for Abu Hamza, who is using his birth name of Mustafa Kamel Mustafa during the trial, objected to the recordings as unduly prejudicial. But U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled last week that most of the tapes can be shown to the jury as evidence of his state of mind.
Abu Hamza lost both hands and one eye in Afghanistan in the 1980s and was known in London for wearing a prosthetic metal hook on his right arm. In court, he has taken notes with a pen wedged in his hook- Reuters