New York, Oct. 7 (Reuters): One-eyed cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has made his first appearance in federal court in New York after Britain extradited him to the US to face trial and a potential life sentence on terrorism charges.
The Egyptian-born Hamza, 54, entered US District Court in Manhattan after being refused the prosthetics — including his signature metal hook — that he wears because of his missing forearms.
Hamza is accused by Washington of supporting al Qaida, aiding a kidnapping in Yemen and plotting to open a training camp for militants in the US.
Hamza is missing both his hands and an eye, injuries he says he suffered while living in Afghanistan in the 1980s and carrying out humanitarian work.
Dressed in blue prison garb, Hamza spoke only once during Saturday’s 10-minute court hearing before Magistrate Judge Frank Maas. Through his court-appointed lawyer, Hamza asked that his prosthetics be returned to him and that he receive proper medical attention. It was not clear why authorities did not allow him the prosthetics in court.
He will return to court on Tuesday.