UK & World News
Cleric Abu Hamza Loses Extradition Appeal
A UK High Court judge has ruled radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza can now be extradited to the United States to face terror charges.
Applications to stop extradition orders against four other terror suspects - Babar Ahmad, Syed Talha Ahsan, Khaled al Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary - have all also been dismissed.
Judge Sir John Thomas ruled that all five can now be extradited immediately.
After the verdict was announced a spokesman for Ahmad read out a statement in front of the Royal Courts of Justice.
"I leave with my head held high having won the moral victory," he said.
All five cases returned to the High Court after judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) refused to intervene and stop the Home Secretary extraditing them.
The men were indicted on various terrorism charges in America between 1999 and 2006.
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.
Ahmad, a computer expert from south London, and Ahsan are accused of offences including using a website to provide support to terrorists and conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure persons or damage property in a foreign country.
They wanted their removal stopped so that they could challenge a decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions not to allow British businessman Karl Watkin, a campaigner against the UK's extradition arrangements with the US, to bring prosecutions against them in the UK.
Bary and Al-Fawwaz were indicted - with Osama bin Laden and 20 others - for their alleged involvement in, or support for, the bombing of US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998.
Al-Fawwaz faces more than 269 counts of murder.
Lawyers for Hamza argued at a three-day hearing this week that his health was "deteriorating".
His QC, Alun Jones, said the Egyptian-born preacher, who lost both hands and an eye allegedly fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, was suffering from depression, lack of concentration and failing memory.
This was probably linked to the chronic sleep deprivation he had endured while being held at top-security Belmarsh prison in south-east London for more than eight years in "utterly unacceptable conditions", it was claimed.
His cell lights had been switched on every hour of the night to make sure he was moving, said Mr Jones.
Hamza suffered from diabetes, raised blood pressure and excessive sweating which required him to shower twice a day, and he also suffered from repeated infections to the stumps of his forearms.
Mr Jones said he had now been moved to another high-security prison, Long Lartin, near Evesham, Worcestershire.
The judge told the packed court that it was important to make six general observations about the appeal, and said "each of these claimants long ago exhausted the procedures in the United Kingdom".
He added: "There can be no doubt that each has, over the many years, either taken or had the opportunity to take every conceivable point to prevent his extradition to the United States.
"It is unacceptable that extradition proceedings should take more than a relatively short time, to be measured in months not years.
"It is not just to anyone that proceedings such as these should last between 14 and eight years."
A US Embassy spokeswoman welcomed the judgement, saying: "These individuals are being transferred to the United States.
"These extraditions mark the end of a lengthy process of litigation through the UK courts and the ECHR.
"The US government agrees with the ECHR's findings that the conditions of confinement in US prisons - including in maximum security facilities - do not violate European standards.