Prosthetic limbs removed 'for security reasons' when he was transferred to U.S. from Britain on Friday
Federal officials plan to replace his hook with prosthetic hands to avoid claims that his civil rights were violated
Two other men, implicated in 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings, will face a judge in federal court on Tuesday
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By Daily Mail Reporter
PUBLISHED: 14:34, 9 October 2012
UPDATED: 14:42, 9 October 2012
In this courtroom sketch, radical Islamist preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri (R) appears before before US Magistrate Judge Frank Maas (L) in Federal Court in New York
American taxpayers will shell out up to $16,000 to replace Abu Hamza al-Masri's hook hands.
The Egyptian-born radical Islamic hate preacher, who claims his hands were blown off while fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, was stripped of his prosthetic limbs 'for security reasons' when he was extradited to the United States from Britain on Friday.
He has demanded the return of his prosthesis, including his infamous hook, so that he can feed and clean himself.
merican officials told the New York Post that they will likely oblige Al-Masri in order to avoid charges that he was deprived of his civil rights, which could form the grounds for legal appeal.
However, he's getting a pair of prosthetic hands -- and not hooks. Officials said there was 'no way' al-Masri, who was convicted in Britain of inciting murder, hatred and terrorism, would get his hooks back while in the US.
'The rule is you give the guy what they had before. Not anything better,' an anonymous official told the Post
Officials with the prosthetic limb maker Arimed said even basic replacement hands must be custom fitted and cost between $5,000 and $8,000 each.
More advanced prosthesis can cost up to $100,000.
Al-Masri, 54, faces charges that he conspired with Seattle men to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon in 1999 and 2000 and helped abduct 16 hostages, two of them American tourists, in Yemen in 1998.
Al-Masri, indicted under the name Mustafa Kamel Mustafa with al-Masri listed as an alias, became well known in the 1990s as his Finsbury Park Mosque in London became a training ground for extremist Islamists including September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and 'shoe bomber' Richard Reid. He had been jailed since 2004 in Britain on separate charges.
Two other men extradited alongside Al-Masri, Khaled al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary, will appear in U.S. District Court in Manhattan for the first time on Tuesday.
They face charges that they participated in the bombings of embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in August 1998. The attacks killed 224 people, including 12 Americans. They were indicted in a case that also charged Osama bin Laden. Both pleaded not guilty on Saturday.
Al-Masri has unusual needs in prison after losing part of each of his arms in what he says was a fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. He also is missing an eye. His lawyers in England said he suffers from depression, chronic sleep deprivation, diabetes and other ailments.
His court-appointed lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, said on Saturday that he needed the use of his arms and wanted his prosthetics back.
'Otherwise, he will not be able to function in a civilized manner,' she said.
John N Billock, head of the Orthotics & Prosthetics Rehabilitation Engineering Centre in Warren, Ohio, and a pioneer in the field, said a hook for a hand would 'definitely be considered a weapon.'
'You could brutalize somebody with it,' he said. 'You can put somebody's eyes out or knock out their teeth.'
Al-Masri is being held prior to trial in the same federal lockup where a prison guard lost an eye and was left brain damaged when he was stabbed with a sharpened comb in 2000 by a terrorism defendant awaiting trial in the embassy bombings plot.
Mamdouh Mahmud Salim is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty in the stabbing.
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