James Ujaama thought he had found the perfect place to set up a jihadist training camp: a quiet ranch situated in a rural section of Oregon.
"The land that we spoke of is about 160 acres and looks just like Afghanistan," Ujaama wrote in a fax in 1999 to his mentor, imam Abu Hamza al-Masri of the Finsbury Park mosque in London. He added that Oregon was a "pro-militia and fire-arms state" where it would be easy to stockpile weapons for combat training.Ujaama testified on Wednesday at Abu Hamza's trial in New York that a few weeks after that fax, two men arrived from the United Kingdom, saying they were sent by Abu Hamza to instruct recruits at the camp.
US prosecutors hope those details will help convince a federal jury that the preacher is guilty of trying to set up the camp to aid al-Qaida. The charges against him carry a potential life sentence.
The one-eyed, handless Abu Hamza, 56, is also accused of supporting al Qaeda in Afghanistan and of providing assistance to militants who kidnapped 16 Western tourists in Yemen in 1998. Four of the hostages were killed during a rescue operation.
His lawyers have argued that Abu Hamza used inflammatory rhetoric but did not commit any crimes.
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