Radical cleric Abu Hamza to head for trial in the US

Radical muslim cleric Abu Hamza is set to be flown out of Britain with four other terror suspects after judges in Europe rejected their bid for a legal appeal.

The way was cleared for their extradition after a unanimous ruling said there would be no violation of human rights.

Islamic preacher, Abu Hamza
Islamic preacher, Abu Hamza Credit: Press Association

Judges agreed that inmates were provided with services and activities - such as television, radio, newspapers, books, hobby and craft items, telephone calls, social visits, correspondence with families, group prayer - which went beyond what was provided in most prisons in Europe.

  • Hamza has been charged with 11 counts of criminal conduct related to the taking of 16 hostages in Yemen in 1998, advocating violent jihad in Afghanistan in 2001 and conspiring to establish a jihad training camp in Bly, Oregon, between June 2000 and December 2001
  • Computer expert Babar Ahmad was also subject of the ruling. He has been held in a UK prison without trial for eight years after being accused of raising funds for terrorism
  • Seyla Talha Ahsan is accused of offences including providing support to terrorists
  • Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled Al-Fawwaz were indicted for their alleged involvement in, or support for, the bombing of US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998

Bary potentially faces 269 mandatory sentences of life imprisonment without parole. Ahmad, Ahsan, Hamza and Al-Fawwaz face possible discretionary life sentences.

Having regard to the seriousness of the offences in question, the court did not consider that these sentences were grossly disproportionate or amounted to inhuman or degrading treatment.

– European Court of Human Rights

Keith Vaz, Chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said the decision by judges in Europe had been delayed by of a backlog of cases.

There are still a number of practical arrangements to be sorted out for their extradition, which means extradition could take up to three weeks.

Our UK Editor, Lucy Manning, looks at the legal ruling which means the terror suspects can now be deported.