Cleric’s US terrorism trial delayed until April
NEW YORK (AP) — An Egyptian Islamic cleric extradited from Great Britain to the U.S. will go on trial in mid-April, a few weeks later than originally planned, a judge said Monday.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest granted the change for the trial of Mustafa Kamel Mustafa at the request of prosecutors, who said the original March trial date was too soon after another terrorism trial likely to begin in February. The new date is April 14.
Defense lawyers told the judge they were seeking to have Mustafa moved from a Manhattan federal lockup to a prison hospital to await trial because such a facility would be better equipped to care for Mustafa, who is missing his arms just below the elbows. Defense lawyer Joshua Dratel said there was a concern that his client’s arms were becoming infected.
Mustafa, who has said he lost the lower parts of his arms fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he conspired with Seattle men to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon and helped abduct two American tourists and 14 others in Yemen in 1998.
He was extradited to the U.S a year ago.
Mustafa became well known in the 1990s as his Finsbury Park Mosque in London became a training ground for extremist Islamists, including Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid. He had been jailed since 2004 in Britain on separate charges.