A woman with a headband on her forehead attends a candle light vigil in Kathmandu
A woman with a headband on her forehead attends a candle light vigil in Kathmandu December 17, 2014, for the students killed at the military-run Army Public School in Peshawar. Pakistan woke up to a day of mourning on Wednesday after Taliban militants killed 132 students in a grisly attack which shocked the nation and put pressure on the government to do more to tackle the insurgency. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A New Zealand businesswoman's brave testimony in the U.S. court helped in awarding life time punishment to a radical British Muslim cleric, who was convicted for kidnapping and abetting terror in the U. S. Abu Hamza, 56, alias Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, was sentenced in the U.S. District Court in New York on Jan 9 after he was extradited from the U.K.

Quin is the chief executive of the Callaghan Innovation Fund in New Zealand, reported 3 News. Both Quin and cricketer Brendon McCullum were named as the New Zealand Herald's 2014 "New Zealanders of the Year".

Yemen Hostage Crisis

In 1998, New Zealander Mary Quin, was one of the 16 Western tourists who were kidnapped by Islamist ultras in Yemen. In her testimony to the trial court, she tendered evidence that Abu Hamza had justified the kidnapping and killing of civilians in the name of Islam. The New Zealander business woman interviewed the radical cleric in October 2000, while researching for her book on the hostage ordeal in Yemen. She told the U.S. court that Abu Hamza told her that the chief kidnapper Abu Hasan used to call him when the hostage crisis was on and advised him to stay away to avoid getting killed by the Yemen army, which is carrying out the rescue operations. In the rescue operations, four hostages lost their lives.

The radical cleric, Abu Hamza, is blind in one eye and lost both hands in an explosion at Afghanistan. The main charges against the cleric included his role in the Yemen hostage crisis, efforts to set up a jihad training camp in Oregon and sending logistical support and recruiting fighters to al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Remorseless Cleric

Delivering the sentence on Hamza, the U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan said she had thought long and hard about the severity of the sentence, for a complicated man who was a father of nine, yet with no remorse, reported Reuters.

When the cleric's conviction was confirmed in May 2014, Quin responded that justice prevailed for her and the other tourists. She expressed her "heartfelt thanks to the investigators and attorneys whose persistence, hard work and commitment to justice over more than 15 years resulted in the extradition and trial of Abu Hamza."

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