April 22, 2009


...In opening arguments at Manhattan federal court, prosecutor Michael Farbiarz said Kassir was a follower of Abu Hamza al-Masri, an Egyptian-born Muslim cleric in prison in Britain for inciting followers to murder nonbelievers.

Armed with Hamza's orders and "a stack of money", Kassir traveled from Europe to Seattle and then 10 hours by car to Bly, Oregon "to establish a training camp for holy war, for jihad," Farbiarz said.

"The purpose of the training camp was to train young Muslims to go and do jihad in Afghanistan," he said. "The defendant was a personal follower of Abu Hamza, he admires Abu Hamza."...

...If convicted, Kassir faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Kassir, who was born in Lebanon but became a Swedish citizen in 1989, was arrested in Prague in 2005.

Another suspect in the case, Haroon Rashid Aswat, a British citizen and one of Hamza's chief aides, is appealing his extradition to the United States.

Hamza, who also faces charges for helping plot the capture of 16 western hostages in Yemen in 1998, won an interim order in 2008 from the European Court of Human Rights blocking his extradition to the United States.


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