Terror Trial: New Zealander Mary Quin Testifies in New York Court Against Abu Hamza

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New Zealander Mary Quin faced her former captor, Abu Hamza, in a New York court on May 7. In a terror trial of suspected terrorist and London imam Abu Hamza as-Masri, Ms Quin told jurors how she had escaped the men who held her captive along with other tourists in Yemen.

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.

Ms Quin recalled that when she saw her captor collapse on the sand with a gunshot wound, she hesitated for only a few seconds before springing into action. She stepped on her captor's head and grabbed the AK-47 rifle which had been pushed against her spine moments before. Ms Quin ran towards the safety of her rescuers.

Ms Quin is now the chief executive of Callaghan Innovation, a company based in Wellington, New Zealand. She was part of a group of Western tourists who were kidnapped by Yemeni militants in 1988. U.S. prosecutors have accused Abu Hamza of supplying advice and a satellite phone to kidnappers.

The operation came to an end in a gun fight between the militants and Yemeni military forces. Abu Hamza's lawyers argued that the imam was acting as a "mediator" to facilitate the release of the hostages.

For the prosecution, evidence was presented that the kidnappers were going to exchange the hostages for prisoners in Yemen which includes Abu Hamza's son and stepson, according to reports.

Ms Quin was the final witness to take the stand against Abu Hamza. 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. 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.

The accused is expected to give his own testimony within the day. He denied allegations of setting up a jihad training camp and helping hostage-takers in terrorist attacks in west Yemen.

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