To face trial over terror training, kidnapping
Abu Hamza al-Masri, the radical preacher imprisoned for soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred through his rabble-rousing sermons in a London mosque, has been extradited to the U.S. over alleged terror offences. The move came after the High Court on Friday rejected his last-ditch appeal, ending a marathon legal battle that saw him repeatedly frustrate the British government’s bid to deport him.
Abu Hamza arrived in the U.S. on Saturday morning under tight security and was expected to appear in court to face charges that he conspired to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon and was involved in kidnapping western hostages in Yemen in 1998. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) hailed the extradition as a “major milestone”.
Earlier, within hours of the court ruling, Hamza and four other men accused of terror offences — Babar Ahmad, Syed Talha Ahsan, Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled al-Fawwaz — were taken to a Royal Air Force base and put on a plane to America.
On their arrival in America, two men — Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan —were produced in a court in Connecticut. Both pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to support terrorists in Afghanistan and Chechnya.
Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “absolutely delighted that Abu Hamza is now out of this country”.
“Like the rest of the public I’m sick to the back teeth of people who come here, threaten our country, who stay at vast expense to the taxpayer and we can’t get rid of them,” he said.
The 54-year-old Egyptian-born Hamza, whose real name is Mustafa Kamel Mustafa , was jailed for seven years in 2006 for preaching extremism.
Last month, the European Court of Human Rights rejected his argument that his extradition would be an infringement of his human rights as he feared that he would not get a fair trial in the U.S.. He appealed to the High Court on medical grounds but was told that he had produced no “new and compelling” evidence to justify overturning the ECHR ruling.
“The sooner he is put on trial the better,” was the High Court’s stinging verdict.