Radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza has lost an appeal against his convictions for incitement to murder and race-hate offences.
His challenge was rejected in the Court of Appeal in London by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, Mr Justice Penry-Davey and Mr Justice Pitchford.
Hamza, 48, was jailed for seven years in February after being convicted of 11 out of 15 charges laid against him.
During recent appeal proceedings it was argued on Hamza’s behalf that a fair trial was made impossible by the delay in prosecuting him.
Dismissing the appeal, Lord Phillips said: “There is no reason to believe that the jury were not able to consider and resolve the relevant issues objectively and impartially.”
Hamza was not present for the ruling.
During recent appeal proceedings, his QC, Edward Fitzgerald, told the court it was “unfair” to put him on trial in 2006 for speeches made in the years 1997 to 2000.
He submitted that a “unique” series of subsequent events – including the Sept 2001 attacks on the US and the July 2005 bombings in London – and a campaign against him by the media and leading politicians “prejudiced” his chances of a fair trial.
It was “unfair and oppressive” to put him on trial in 2006 for speeches “in respect of which the police had taken no action at the time”.
During his month-long trial, the prosecution alleged he was a recruiting sergeant for global terrorism.
The prosecution case against him was that in sermons at the Finsbury Park mosque in north London and in Luton, Blackburn and Whitechapel, east London, “he was preaching terrorism, homicidal violence and hatred”.
Hamza was convicted of inciting his followers to murder non-Muslims and Jews. He was also convicted of stirring up racial hatred and possessing a terror “manual”, the Encyclopaedia Of The Afghani Jihad. The manual featured a dedication to al-Qa’eda leader Osama bin Laden and a list of potential targets, including Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower.
Hamza claimed the case against him was politically motivated and the police made up a case out of nothing.
Lord Phillips rejected an application for permission to appeal to the House of Lords, but Hamza’s legal team can apply direct to the Law Lords in a bid to take the case further.
An attempt to extradite Hamza to the US on terror charges was recently put back until Dec 6, pending the outcome of the Court of Appeal proceedings.
We appreciate your support
One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at Amazon.com.
Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission — at no additional cost to you — for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this service free of charge.