A leading scientist in New Zealand is expected to take the stand in New York as a key witness to a major terrorism trial. Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, also known as Abu Hamza who has a metal hook instead of his right hand, is facing terrorism charges. He denied allegations of setting up a jihad training camp and helping hostage-takers in terrorist attacks in west Yemen.
New Zealander Mary Quin was among the tourists who were taken hostage. She is now the chief executive of a state science company in Wellington, Callagahn Innovation. Dr Quin had escaped the hostage incident in Yemen in 1998. Four hostages were killed in crossfire between the terrorists and government troops. Ms Quin was part of the 16 people who travelled and crossed the Yemen desert.
A group of masked men with automatic weapons and grenade-launcher ambushed the group and took their passports. Hours later, Ms Quin thought a deal has been made for their release. She saw kidnappers joking with the hostages and approaching vehicles. The vehicles carried government troops who began shooting at the hostage takers.
As the star witness for the prosecution, the 59-year-old Ms Quin will stand before the court in Manhattan and reveal how she confronted Abu Hamza and recorded his confession of his role in the kidnapping of tourists in 1998.
A tape of Ms Quin's interview with Abu Hamza at a London mosque will be played before the jury, according to reports. She wrote the book, "Kidnapped in Yemen" which details her ordeal as a hostage at the mercy of terrorists.
Ms Quin wrote that on the day of the firefight between government troops and her captors, she thought her life was about to end. After an hour of open fire, the terrorist guarding her was shot and fell on the floor. She had to kick the man in the head to forcibly take his weapon.
Ms Quin ran towards safety behind the Yemeni troops. She did not forget about her fellow hostages who were killed in the fight. She had vowed to find the men responsible for the bloody ambush. Ms Quin was diligent in reading news reports and making lists of suspects. She had also interviewed a former Prime Minister of the Gulf state and met with diplomats and the FBI. Abu Hamza's name kept coming up and she discovered he was preaching in a mosque in London's Finsbury Park. After a series of emails with no reply, Ms Quin decided to confront the Muslim cleric herself and recorded their meeting.
In her book, Ms Quin described the meeting wherein she was asked to wait in a basement-level prayer room. After sometime, she was escorted to Abu Hamza's office. When she was facing the cleric, she cut him off from his tirade on Algeria and said she was one of the tourists in Yemen. She was surprised that the cleric had allowed their conversation to be taped. What was supposed to be a 15-minute interview lasted for an hour.
The tape was considered a vital part of the evidence used in Abu Hamza's extradition from Britain to the U.S. for the New York trial.
Abu Hamza is currently in Britain serving a six-year prison sentence for soliciting murder and inciting hatred.