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September 26, 2017

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US judge orders Islamist preacher extradited from UK remain in detention

NEW YORK -- A U.S. judge ordered that Islamist preacher Abu Hamza, who Washington sees as an al-Qaida mastermind, be kept in detention after a brief court hearing Saturday.

Abu Hamza and four other terror suspects who were extradited overnight from Britain appeared in U.S. court in the latest stage of a transatlantic legal saga. All men except Abu Hamza, who entered no plea, pleaded not guilty.

The one-eyed extremist, whose trademark hook on the stump of his right arm and other prosthetic limbs were removed, did not speak at the hearing in New York, except for a few words muttered to his court-appointed lawyer.

Abu Hamza, 54, faces terror charges over a 1998 kidnapping in Yemen, setting up an al-Qaida-style training camp in the northwestern state of Oregon and for "facilitating violent jihad" in Afghanistan. He will be formally charged on Tuesday.

Wearing a navy blue prisoner's outfit, the long-bearded Abu Hamza kept his shaved head of white hair bowed during the hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank Maas, who summarized the 11 charges before him.

Sabrina Shroff, a lawyer for the cleric, requested the authorities return his special shoes, without which "he will not be able to function in a civilized way" due to foot trouble, and requested medical acare on account of his diabetes.

Appearing in the same New York court were Egyptian Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled Al-Fawwaz of Saudi Arabia, 50. They are both charged with conspiring with members of al-Qaida to kill U.S. nationals and attack U.S. interests abroad.

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