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Updated: September 11, 2013 19:00 IST

UK loses bid to extradite Indian-origin terror suspect to US

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Controversial Muslim cleric Abu Hamza.
AP Controversial Muslim cleric Abu Hamza.

The UK government on Wednesday failed to overturn a European Court ruling blocking the extradition to the US of a British Indian terror suspect accused of conspiring with radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza.

Sending Haroon Aswat — a British citizen of Gujarati origin — to the US could lead to a deterioration in his mental health, breaching his human rights, the European Court of Human Rights had ruled in April.

The UK had asked for the case to be reconsidered by the court’s Grand Chamber but that was rejected. The latest decision is final, which means the accused cannot be extradited now.

US authorities alleged that Mr. Aswat was involved in a plot to set up a terrorist training camp at Bly, in Oregon, with Egyptian-born Abu Hamza, who was extradited from Britain to stand trial in the US last year on charges of conspiring to provide material support to Al Qaeda.

Washington officials first requested Mr. Aswat’s extradition eight years ago, but in 2008 he was transferred from prison to Broadmoor high-security psychiatric hospital in Berkshire after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

In its ruling in April, the European court said his mental and physical health could significantly worsen in the “more hostile” environment of a US prison where he would have no support from family or friends.

The Strasbourg court’s decision came after it had adjourned the case last year to obtain further submissions on the relevance of Mr. Aswat’s schizophrenia to his claim.

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