NEW YORK – An Egyptian-born preacher charged in multiple terror plots will be outfitted next week with new prosthetic arms to replace the hooks he used before, his lawyer said Friday.
Mustafa Kamel Mustafa needs all the help he can get while at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan awaiting trial, attorney Jeremy Schneider said after a hearing. Next Tuesday’s fitting, announced in court by the judge who will preside at Mustafa’s trial, will take place in a facility not constructed with the disabled in mind, Schneider said.
Mustafa, widely known as Abu Hamza al-Masri, was transferred from London earlier this month, along with four other defendants charged with terrorism offenses. He has pleaded not guilty to conspiring with some Seattle men to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon and to helping abduct two American tourists and 14 other people in Yemen in 1998. He has said he lost his arms just below the elbows fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. The hooks he has been using make his upper arms sore, his lawyer said.
Mustafa’s disabilities make his quest for justice difficult, the lawyer said.
“He’s a disabled man in a facility that does not have facilities for disabled people,” he said.
Mustafa, whose new arms will be paid for by the U.S. government, 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.
The next hearing was set for Dec. 14.