Radical British imam Abu Hamza al Masri is scheduled to be sentenced Friday on terrorism conspiracy charges in federal court in Manhattan amid an unusual dispute between the defense and prosecutors over where the one-eyed double amputee should do his time.
In court filings this week defense lawyers conceded the 56-year-old is likely to spend the rest of his life in custody, but urged U.S. District Judge Katharine Forrest to order prison officials to send him to a medical facility and arrange access to a health aide and specially designed toilets, showers and sinks.
Anything less, they say, could amount to unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment, and violate the expectations of British authorities when they extradited Abu Hamza to the United States in 2012 after a long legal battle.
Abu Hamza was convicted last year of aiding a 1998 tourist kidnapping in Yemen that ended in the death of four hostages, trying to set up a jihad training camp in Oregon and sending acolytes to help al-Qaida and the Taliban.
Prosecutors contend the conditions of confinement should be left to the federal Bureau of Prisons, including possible assignment of Abu Hamza to the "supermax" federal prison in Florence, Colorado.