December 20, 2006

Not Really a Suprise...

U.K. Court Rejects Islamic Cleric Abu Hamza Al-Masri's Appeal

By Megan Murphy
Nov. 28 (Bloomberg)

A U.K. appeals court refused to overturn Abu Hamza al-Masri's convictions for inciting murder and racial hatred, ruling that the Islamic cleric received a fair trial.

Al-Masri, 48, is serving a seven-year prison sentence for encouraging his followers to kill Jews and other non-Muslims in a series of sermons between 1997 and 2000. His lawyers claim the jury was swayed by the media's demonization of their client and by unrelated acts of terrorism, such as the 2005 bombings on London's public transport system.

The Court of Appeal today rejected those arguments, in a decision handed down by Lord Nicholas Phillips, the most senior judge in England and Wales.

``There is no reason to believe that the jury were not able to consider and resolve the relevant issues objectively and impartially,'' Phillips wrote in the judgment. The cleric's lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald QC, said he would seek permission to appeal to the House of Lords, Britain's highest court.

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