After a lengthy legal battle, the United Kingdom’s High Court ordered that three Al Qaeda–linked terrorists — Adel Abdel Bary, Khaled Al Fawwaz, and Abu Hamza Al Masri, who have been in British custody for years — be extradited to the United States. The trio’s arrival in New York earlier today was almost immediately followed by a court appearance, during which all three pleaded not guilty.
Bary and Al Fawwaz have been accused of helping to plan the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Al Masri is known for the 1998 abduction of sixteen tourists in Yemen, attempting to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon, recruiting Zacarias Moussaoui (9/11’s “twentieth hijacker”) and failed shoe-bomber Richard Reed, and his almost cartoonishly evil physical appearance — he’s missing an eye and has a hook for a right hand.
However, Al Masri was apparently relieved of the hook by Metropolitan Correctional Center officials, and so sat through the hearing with “his reddish arm stumps exposed.” In addition to requesting a dictation machine so that her client could take notes on the proceedings, Al Masri’s lawyer, Sabrina Schroff, said he would also “appreciate if the Bureau of Prisons would return to him his prosthetics so he can use his arms.” That seems like a reasonable enough request to us, though Schroff went above and beyond her defending-a-notorious-terrorist duties outside the courtroom, when she told reporters that Al Masri “seemed very much of a gentleman.”