NEW YORK – The fiery British cleric who prosecutors said had “devoted his life to violent jihad” and had dispatched young men around the world to train and fight, was convicted of 11 terrorism-related charges on Monday in Manhattan.
Prosecutors had accused the cleric, Mostafa Kamel Mostafa, a former imam at the Finsbury Park mosque in North London, of helping to orchestrate the violent 1998 kidnappings of 16 U.S., British and Australian tourists in Yemen; trying to create a terrorist training camp in Bly, Ore.; and supporting terrorism by sending one of his followers to train with Al-Qaida in Afghanistan.
In the tourist abductions, four hostages were killed after their captors, a militant group allied with Mostafa, were used as human shields during a rescue operation. “He jumped at opportunities across the globe to support this violent jihad,” prosecutor Ian McGinley said in a closing argument.
The verdict in U.S. District Court marked the end of a lengthy legal battle to bring Mostafa to trial. Arrested in London in 2004 after the U.S. requested his extradition, Mostafa was convicted in Britain in 2006 on separate charges, of soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred. He served a prison sentence, and after fighting extradition, he was sent in 2012 to New York to face terrorism charges.
Last week, Mostafa denied that he had played a role in the kidnappings, the planning of the training camp in Oregon or that he had dispatched followers to assist Al-Qaida.
new york times