UK court approves extradition of terror suspects

The High Court of England and Wales on Oct. 5 approved the extradition of five terror suspects to the US. The court’s decision comes a week after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) gave its final approval of the extradition, which it had initially approved in April. Egyptian-born Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri and four other suspects appealed that ruling in July, but the ECHR declined to revisit their arguments. In its decision, the court criticized the extensive time spent litigating the extradition. In addition to al-Masri, British citizens Syed Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad and Saudi-born Khaled Al-Fawwaz are now slated to be extradited. All five men are wanted in the US on terrorism charges and will face imprisonment without parole at ADX Florence, a super-maximum security prison in Colorado. It has not been announced when the group will be extradited nor when they will be tried in the US.

The ECHR’s decision in April marked a change in position for the court from its position two years ago, when it stayed the extradition of four of the terrorism suspects to the US, holding that potential punishment could violate European Convention on Human Rights provisions on the prohibition of torture and inhumane or degrading treatment. The UK High Court approved the extradition of Aswat and Ahmad to the US in 2006. Aswat is wanted in the US on suspicion of setting up a terrorist training camp and Ahmad is wanted for conspiring to kill Americans and running a website used to fund terrorists and recruit al Qaeda members. The extraditions were approved only after the US offered assurances that it would not seek the death penalty, try the suspects before military tribunals or declare them enemy combatants. A British court approved the extradition of al-Masri in 2007. Hamza, who is currently serving a seven-year sentence in the UK for urging his followers to kill Jews and other non-Muslims, faces US charges of attempting to establish terrorist training camps in Oregon, conspiring to take hostages in Yemen, and helping terror training in Afghanistan.

From Jurist, Oct. 5. Used with permission.


  1. Extradited terror suspect pleads not guilty
    Egyptian-born Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri on Oct. 9 pleaded not guilty to 11 criminal charges. His charges include taking hostages, providing material support to terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda, and conspiring do such acts. He made his first appearance in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on Oct. 6 after being extradited from the UK. During his first appearance, charges against him were heard and confirmed. Under the extradition ruling of the High Court of England and Wales and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), federal prosecutors are not allowed to seek death penalty against al-Masri.

    From Jurist, Oct. 10. Used with permission.

  2. Radical Muslim cleric guilty on terrorism charges

    A jury for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on May 19 convicted Egyptian-born Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri of supporting terrorism. Al-Masri was found guilty of 11 criminal charges, which included planning to establish a jihad training camp in Oregon, conspiring to kidnap Americans in Yemen by enabling hostage-takers to speak on a satellite phone and supplying the Taliban with goods and services. Though the jury decision was unanimous, he has maintained his innocence through continued denials of all charges. The cleric is now facing the possibility of a life sentence in a top-security US prison. He faces sentencing Sept. 9.

    From Jurist, May 20. Used with permission.