Islamist preacher Abu Hamza loses appeal against US extradition

AFP , Friday 5 Oct 2012

Egyptian Islamist cleric Abu Hamza loses bid to block his extradition from Britain to the United States on terrorism charges

Abu Hamza loses
Demonstrators protest in support of Abu Hamza al-Masri, who is appealing against his extradition to the U.S., outside the High Court in London October 5, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)

Radical Islamist preacher Abu Hamza and four other men on Friday failed in bids to block their extradition from Britain to the United States to face terrorism charges, as the High Court rejected their requests.

Judge John Thomas said: "The applications by all five claimants must be dismissed. It follows that their extradition to the United States of America may proceed immediately."

The judge issued "interim injunctions" barring the removal of Abu Hamza and a second terror suspect, Khaled Al-Fawwaz, pending a hearing in open court which will happen "urgently", a spokeswoman

The European Human Rights Court upheld the judges' decision in April in favour of extradition for Hamza and the other four suspected extremists, ruling that the heavy prison sentence he could possibly face in the US would not be disproportionate to the charges.

The Egyptian-born cleric, with a hook for a hand, attempted this month to avoid such US extradition order by claiming deterioration of health conditions before the High Court hearing in London.

Two senior judges hearing the case have been told in papers lodged with the court that Hamza is seeking a temporary injunction pending a request for an MRI scan to be carried out due to his "deteriorating health".

Hamza's lawyer Alun Jones argued that there is "uncontradicted medical opinion that a scan is medically necessary". Jones adds: "If the applicant (Hamza) is unfit to plead, or arguably so, it will be argued that it would be oppressive to extradite him".The lawyer said a judge referred to Hamza's "very poor health" at an extradition hearing in 2008.

Hamza, the former imam of the Finsbury Park mosque in north London, is wanted in the United States on charges including setting up an Al-Qaeda-style training camp for militants in the northwestern US state of Oregon.


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