US court awards 20-year jail to Indian-origin Briton

London, Oct 17 (IANS) A US court has sentenced a Briton of Indian-origin to 20 years in prison after he was tried for setting up a terrorist camp in the US two years before the 9/11 attacks.

Haroon Aswat, 41, an ally of Abu Hamza, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and providing material support to al Qaeda for trying to set up a terrorist camp in Oregon in 1999 on the orders of Hamza, the Daily Mail reported on Friday.

Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, also known as Abu Hamza, is a radical cleric who was extradited to the US from Britain in 2012. He is known for delivering incendiary speeches against the West at London’s Finsbury Park Mosque.

Hamza is serving life imprisonment in the US. He was sentenced in January this year after being found guilty on 11 counts of terrorism on May 19 last year.

The court in New York heard that Aswat, an electrical engineer, came in contact with Hamza in 1990s and helped him in day-to-day because Aswat felt sorry for him as he had no hands and had to use hooks.

Aswat suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and may apply to serve his sentence in Britain.

He was arrested in 2005 from Zambia and has been in custody since then. Due to his mental condition, the European Court of Human Rights blocked his extradition at that time.

But after the US assured of proper treatment and care, London’s High Court agreed for his extradition and he arrived in the country in October 2014.

Aswat, under the orders of Hamza, was tasked to provide religious training at the camp they were to set up in the US.

Prosecutors said that the camp was to support al Qaeda and train Muslim men to fight, the report said.

Before his sentencing, Aswat, apologised to the US for breaking the law.

“I have chosen patience over retaliation, forgiveness over enmity and peace over violence…I have learned that crime does not pay,” Aswat was quoted as saying.

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