LONDON – Lawyers acting for the U.S. government outlined terrorism charges against a radical Muslim cleric, including an alleged attempt to establish a jihad camp in Oregon, as they sought his extradition Friday from Britain.
Abu Hamza al-Masri (search) was involved in the attempted establishment of the terrorist training camp, a hostage-taking incident in Yemen, and the funding of training for potential terrorists, said James Lewis, a lawyer acting for the U.S. government said.
U.S. authorities are seeking his extradition on 10 terror charges, Lewis said.
Al-Masri's defense attorney said his client wouldn't receive a fair hearing if he were sent to the United States and expressed fears some evidence against him may have been obtained from tortured witnesses.
Defense lawyer Edward Fitzgerald also told Judge Timothy Workman that Al-Masri, 47, could face the death penalty in the United States.
The Egyptian-born cleric — who has one eye and hooks for hands, which he says were lost fighting Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s — was arrested May 27 by British police in London after a U.S. request.
"The evidence gathered by the FBI when viewed as a whole shows that Abu Hamza was a member of a conspiracy to wage global jihad," Lewis told the court.
Lewis said U.S. authorities allege al-Masri conspired to establish a jihad training camp near Bly, Ore., a logging and ranching town in the high desert of southern Oregon. Al-Masri allegedly sent two supporters to view facilities there, but a camp was never developed.
Lewis also said the FBI (search) had concluded that al-Masri "knowingly and actively participated" in the hostage-taking in Yemen in 1998, when terrorists seized 16 tourists. Three British tourists and one Australian visitor were killed when Yemeni security forces were involved in a shootout with the Islamic extremist captors.
He said the Finsbury Park (search) mosque in north London where al-Masri was head preacher funded a trip to Afghanistan for two supporters, one of whom wanted to be trained for the global jihad.
Fitzgerald said his client shouldn't be extradited.
"This is a situation where there's every likelihood that evidence will be deployed against the defendant that is obtained by torture or inhumane and degrading treatment," he said.
Officials have said previously that al-Masri was suspected of aiding the deadly 2000 suicide attack on the USS Cole (search). Those allegations were not mentioned in court Friday.
Al-Masri has been the focus of terror suspicions for years in Britain. He formerly preached at a London mosque linked to several terrorist suspects, including Sept. 11 suspect Zacarias Moussaoui and "shoe bomber" Richard Reid.
He is also wanted in Yemen on charges of hostage-taking and conspiracy.
Workman adjourned the hearing until Aug. 20.