A US Muslim convert has told a New York terror trial that British hate preacher Abu Hamza “ordered” him to take a young recruit to Afghanistan to learn frontline jihad.
James Ujaama, 48, who has served jail time for a related conviction, told the Manhattan federal court on Wednesday he was once “very close” to Abu Hamza, working for him at his Finsbury Park Mosque in north London in 2000 and 2001.
“Sheikh Abu Hamza ordered me to take Feroz Abbasi,” he said, referring to a British man arrested by US troops in Afghanistan in 2001 and later held at Guantanamo Bay.
Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, better known in Britain as Abu Hamza al-Masri, who was extradited to the United States in 2012, is on trial accused of multiple terror and kidnapping charges that pre-date the 9/11 attacks.
He is charged over the 1998 kidnapping in Yemen of 16 Western tourists, four of whom were killed, and conspiracy to set up an al-Qaeda-style training camp in Oregon in late 1999.
Ujaama said Abu Hamza sent two men from London to help with jihad training as part of the conspiracy to open the Oregon camp.
Ujaama, who lived in Seattle at the time, pleaded guilty in 2007 in New York to conspiring to set up the facility.
Jailed for six years and released in late 2012, he has a cooperation agreement with the US government.
Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, 56, better known in Britain as Abu Hamza al-Masri, has pleaded not guilty to all 11 charges.
He faces the rest of his life in a maximum security US prison if convicted in the Manhattan federal court after a trial expected to last well into May.
Blind in one eye and with both arms blown off at the elbow in an explosion in Afghanistan years ago, he sat quietly in the courtroom in black tracksuit bottoms and a navy T-shirt.
He is also accused of providing material support to Al-Qaeda, of wanting to set up a computer lab for the Taliban and of sending recruits for terror training in Afghanistan.
Abu Hamza was indicted in the United States in 2004 and served eight years in prison in Britain before losing his last appeal against extradition.