A partially blind extremist Egyptian-born preacher and four other terrorism suspects appeared in federal courts today, hours after they lost years-long extradition fights in Britain and were transported to the US under tight security to face trial. The preacher, Abu Hamza al-Masri, entered no plea to charges of conspiring with Seattle men to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon and of helping abduct 16 hostages, two of them American tourists, in Yemen in 1998.
Al-Masri has hooks in place of hands, but he came into court without them and both arms exposed through his short-sleeved blue prison shirt. His court-appointed lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, asked that his prosthetics be immediately returned "so he can use his arms." The four other extradited men pleaded not guilty. Khaled al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary appeared alongside al-Masri in New York, and Syed Talha Ahsan, 33, and Babar Ahmad, 38, were arraigned in New Haven, Conn., to charges that they provided terrorists in Afghanistan and Chechnya with cash, recruits, and equipment.