In this courtroom sketch, defendant Haroon Aswat, center, sits next to his attorney Peter Quijano, left, while Assistant US Attorney Ian McGinley, right, speaks during Aswat’s guilty plea sentencing in federal court, Monday, March 30, 2015, in New York. Aswat, a mentally ill British man, admitted he plotted to set up an al-Qaida training camp on a ranch in a remote part of Oregon that was likened to Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)
A mentally ill man originally from Sheffield has admitted plotting to set up an al-Qaida training camp.
Haroon Aswat has pleaded guilty to US charges over plotting to set up the camp on a ranch in a remote part of Oregon.
In this courtroom sketch, defendant Haroon Aswat speaks during his guilty plea sentencing in federal court, Monday, March 30, 2015, in New York. Aswat, a mentally ill British man, admitted he plotted to set up an al-Qaida training camp on a ranch in a remote part of Oregon that was likened to Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)
He admitted travelling to Bly, Oregon, in 1999 at the direction of Mustafa Kamel Mustafa – the radical cleric based in London and also known as Abu Hamza.
His orders were to help train recruits ‘who wanted to participate in jihad on behalf of a terrorist organisation,’ he said in a barely audible voice in court in New York City.
Before pleading guilty to conspiracy and supporting terrorism, Aswat, who was born in Sheffield, told US District Judge Katherin Forrest that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia at 20.
The judge ruled that the sentencing could go ahead because the defendant is under medical care and showing no symptoms.
ALL TV OUT Court sketch dated 05/01/2006 by Elizabeth Cook of Haroon Aswat as the British terror suspect has pleaded guilty in New York to charges of plotting to set up a terrorist training camp in the US with hook-handed extremist Abu Hamza. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday March 30, 2015. Paranoid schizophrenic Aswat, from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, admitted supporting terrorism and conspiracy and could face up to 20 years in prison. See PA story COURTS Aswat. Photo credit should read: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire
Aswat, 40, was charged in 2005 in the plot to establish the camp for military training at a site known as Dog Cry Ranch.
Prosecutors accused the defendant of arriving in Oregon with instructions on how to make bombs and poisons.
According to court papers, one communication between the conspirators said that the property was located in a ‘pro-militia and firearms state’ that ‘looks just like Afghanistan’ and that the group was ‘stockpiling weapons and ammunition’.
But the camp never materialised beyond a dozen people taking target practice, authorities said.
Aswat faces up to 20 years in prison at his sentencing on July 31.
He spent nearly 10 years behind bars in the UK fighting extradition to the US.
source: The Star