Terror convict in US says deputy of Osama bin Laden treated him
By Jennie Matthew, AFP
May 3, 2014, 12:02 am TWN
NEW YORK--An American terror convict told Thursday of how Osama bin Laden's then deputy treated him for a cold with honey and seeds, as a New York trial heard intriguing new details of everyday life inside al-Qaida.
Egyptian doctor Ayman al-Zawahiri, credited with being the brains behind the extremist network, became head of al-Qaida when bin Laden was killed by U.S. troops three years ago.
James Ujaama, 48, told the trial of British hate preacher Abu Hamza that he fell ill with a "very bad cold" while in Kabul in late 2000, a year before the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington
"He treated me," Ujaama told U.S. prosecutor John Cronan, who flashed up a picture of the bearded Zawahiri. Ujaama said he didn't know Zawahiri's name or position at the time.
"He gave me some honey and black seed," Ujaama told the Manhattan court where Abu Hamza is on trial for 11 kidnapping and terror charges. "He was very caring."
Ujaama worked for Abu Hamza between 2000 and 2001, running the website of the cleric's "Supporters of Sharia" organization based in London.
He was jailed for six years in the United States on a terror conviction but was released on bail in 2010 after agreeing to testify at the government's request.
Working for Abu Hamza
In 2000, he traveled to New York to raise money for Muslim families to move to Afghanistan, get web-development training and buy computer equipment.
Later that year, he traveled to Afghanistan, tasked by Abu Hamza with accompanying British recruit Feroz Abbasi and doling out thousands of dollars to a girls' school.
But Ujaama said he left Abbasi in Pakistan and went alone to Afghanistan after securing safe passage from the Taliban's then-foreign minister.