A MAN, whose wife was killed when they were caught up in a hostage terror ordeal orchestrated by Abu Hamza, has welcomed the hate cleric’s conviction in a New York court.
Laurence Whitehouse was on holiday with his wife Margaret in Yemen in 1998 when they were taken hostage by terrorists.
The couple were among a group of tourists – 12 Britons, two Americans and two Australians – who were abducted after taking a tour of historic sites in the Arabian Peninsula. They were kidnapped as their convoy of 4x4 vehicles was travelling through the desert.
Mrs Whitehouse, a 52-year-old teacher at Long Sutton Primary School, was killed when Yemeni forces tried to free them by force.
She died trying to help a wounded Australian tourist in their group, for which she received a posthumous bravery award.
This week, Hamza was found guilty of supporting terrorism, which included his role in the hostage incident.
Mr Whitehouse said the guilty verdict had been a long time coming.
The 68-year-old told The Gazette: “In 1999, we put out a press release detailing the strong links that Abu Hamza had to Abu Hassan (the leader of the hostage takers.) “Most importantly, Abu Hamza provided a satellite phone to Abu Hassan and had been on the phone to him during the incident.
“We have known about these links for years. I haven’t let this dominate my life but during these years, I have always wanted to know the extent to which he instigated this. It is now pleasing to know that a jury has found that he was guilty.”
Mr Whitehouse, of Nightingale Gardens, Hook, said that it was after the 9/11 attacks that the Americans became involved, and the investigations into Abu Hamza became more concentrated.
On Monday, a jury found the 56-year-old, who was born in Egypt, guilty on 11 charges.
He was charged with providing material support to terrorist organisations by enabling hostage takers in the Yemen kidnapping to speak on a satellite phone, sending men to establish an Al-Qaeda training camp in Bly, Oregon, and sending at least one man to training camps in Afghanistan.
The conviction of the radical Islamist cleric marks the end of a 10-year battle by American authorities to bring him to justice.
The Americans first requested his extradition from Britain in 2004, but the process was sidelined when Hamza, who became notorious in the 1990s for delivering bile-filled sermons outside Finsbury Park mosque, in London, was charged with terrorism offences in this country.
In 2006, Hamza was found guilty of 11 charges, including soliciting murder and inciting racial hate, and was jailed for seven years.