Egyptian Islamic cleric Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, shown in a 2006 photo, was found guilty Monday in federal court in Manhattan on charges of aiding terrorist organizations. / Adrian Dennis, AFP/Getty Images
A federal jury convicted an Egyptian Islamic preacher Monday of aiding terrorist groups in a trial that a prosecutor said should mean justice for the victims of a Yemen kidnapping more than a decade ago.
The cleric, Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, 55, was known for fiery sermons that attracted extremists to his mosque in London both before and after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
He was charged with providing material support to terrorist groups by enabling hostage takers in the Yemen kidnapping to communicate with a satellite phone; sending people to establish an al-Qaeda training camp in Bly, Ore.; and sending at least one man to training camps in Afghanistan.
Mustafa was extradited in 2012 from England, where he led London's Finsbury Park Mosque in the 1990s. The mosque reportedly was attended by Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and shoe bomber Richard Reid.
Mustafa, who denied ever meeting them, looked straight ahead as the verdict was read.
Defense attorney Joshua Dratel said the verdict was "not about the evidence but about a visceral reaction to the defendant."
During the federal court trial in New York City, jurors watched videotapes and heard audio clips in which Mustafa shouted to his followers, telling them non-Muslims could be treated like animals and women and children who were not Muslim could be taken captive.
On the witness stand for four days, he insisted he never engaged in acts of terrorism or aided al-Qaeda.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ian McGinley told jurors the defendant was lying and to focus on evidence.
In his closing argument, McGinley read aloud the names of four European tourists who died in Yemen in 1998 after their convoy of cars was overtaken by extremist Islamic kidnappers whom Mustafa had given the satellite phone. McGinley said a guilty verdict would provide a measure of justice for them and another dozen hostages who survived.
"Don't be fooled by his testimony," McGinley said. "Don't let the passage of time diminish what he did."
Contributing: Associated Press
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