A radical Muslim cleric whose sermons influenced shoe bomber Richard Reid in his attempt to blow up a U.S. jetliner pleaded not guilty to various terrorism charges during his first appearance in a New York courtroom Tuesday after being extradited from Britain.
Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, a naturalized British citizen who is better known by the alias Abu Hamza Masri, appeared in federal court in Lower Manhattan under tight security and without the sharp metal hook he wears in place of a right hand that was lost, along with his left hand, in combat in Afghanistan.
Since Mustafa's arrival in the United States over the weekend, his attorneys have said Mustafa needs his prosthetic, but prison officials have expressed doubts that a man who openly praised the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks would be allowed to wear a sharp-edged, metal hook while in custody.
"He's having a hard time. He doesn't have hands," Mustafa's attorney, Jeremy Schneider, told reporters outside court, the Associated Press reported. Schneider said he believed that his client, who is also blind, had use of the hook for part of the day "but not long enough to allow him to function the way he should function."