Hizbullah MP to serve as radical Muslim cleric's lawyer

Lebanon: Omar Bakri Mohammed to get retrial following life sentence meted out in absentia; appeals to Nasrallah for help with "injustice."

November 16, 2010 13:49
1 minute read.
Omar Bakri Mohammed

Mohammed 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Radical Muslim cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed has appointed Hizbullah MP Nawwar Sahili as his lawyer for his retrial, following his arrest in Lebanon on Sunday, AFP reported on Tuesday.

Mohammed was sentenced in absentia to life in prison last week after being found guilty of incitement to murder, theft and the possession of arms and explosives.

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He asked for Hizbullah's help in a Saturday interview, urging the Shi'ite group's leader Hassan Nasrallah "to look at the injustice facing Omar Bakri who backs all resistance against Israel."

Mohammed, who holds Syrian and Lebanese citizenship, lived in Britain for 20 years where he headed the now-disbanded radical Islamist group al-Muhajiroun.

He left Britain for Lebanon in 2005 and the British government barred him from returning.

Lebanese officials said Bakri was among 54 people sentenced Friday in trials of militants who fought deadly clashes with the Lebanese army in 2007. Bakri was convicted of "belonging to an armed group with the aim of carrying out terrorist acts and plotting to kill Lebanese soldiers."

Judicial officials said Bakri was sentenced to life because of his failure to show up for his trial.

Bakri insisted he never received a summons.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Friday, he said the charges were "lies and fabrications."

Bakri also said his lawyer informed him he had 15 days to turn himself in and appeal the ruling.

Bakri became a focus of British attention after he said he would not inform the police if he knew Muslims were planning attacks such as the July 7, 2005, bombings in London that killed 56 people.

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