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Muslim Cleric Struggles To Explain Satellite Phone To Jury

Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, also known as Abu Hamza al-Masri (file/credit: Getty Images)

Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, also known as Abu Hamza al-Masri (file/credit: Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The hook-handed Muslim cleric on trial for terrorism told a jury contradictory stories Monday about a satellite phone he purchased that ended up in the hands of a Yemeni kidnapper.

As WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported, Mustafa Kamel Mustafa is testifying for the third day in his own defense in Manhattan federal court. Mustafa — who also is known by the aliases Abu Hamza and Abu Hamza al-Masri — has pleaded not guilty to charges he conspired to support the kidnappers who abducted 16 tourists in 1998 and he tried to organize an al Qaeda training camp outside Bly, Ore.

Mustafa testified that his satellite phone was stolen, but he also said he provided the phone to the kidnappers so that the tourists could contact their families to prevent bloodshed. In the end, four of them were killed.

He also struggled to explain away a story one of the kidnapping victims told the jury last week about when she confronted Mustafa in London after surviving the abduction and shootout between her kidnappers and Yemeni soldiers. Mary Quin testified that Mustafa told her, “We didn’t think it would be that bad.”

Also Monday, Mustafa testified he received a fax describing the site in Oregon as the perfect spot to set up a terrorist training camp, but he threw it in the trash. He said two of his followers stole the fax from his garbage and tried to execute the plan themselves.

Mustafa still has not been cross-examined. That could begin Monday.

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