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Abu Hamza to be sentenced in U.S

Radical cleric Abu Hamza will be sentenced for a string of terrorism offences when he appears before a New York judge later today.

The north London preacher, 56, could face life in prison after a federal court last year found him guilty of supporting terrorist organisations, including aiding the taking of hostages in Yemen and seeking to set up an al Qaida training camp in the United States.

It took successive governments nearly a decade to remove the Egyptian-born Hamza from the UK following a lengthy and costly legal battle.

He will be sentenced before district judge Katherine Forrest at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan c ourthouse in Manhattan, New York.

The hearing is expected to begin at 10am local time (3pm GMT).

During his trial in May last year, jurors heard a tape in which Hamza - tried under the name Mustafa Kamel Mustafa - said: ''Everybody was happy when the planes hit the World Trade Centre.''

Hamza's lawyers say he should be sent to a prison medical centre because he is too disabled to spend life behind bars at a high-security US jail .

They say he would face unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment if his amputated forearms, psoriasis, diabetes and high blood pressure were not taken into account . They have also recommended a prison term of less than life, according to papers submitted to the court.

Hamza led the Finsbury Park Mosque in the 1990s, reportedly attended by both September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and shoe bomber Richard Reid, though the cleric denied ever having met the pair.

He later spread violent messages there following the attacks of September 11 2001.

Hamza was jailed in the UK for seven years for soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred in 2006 and first faced an extradition request from the Americans in 2004.

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