The breaking news in the UK lunchtime April 10, 2012, is that the UK can extradite Islamist Cleric Abu Hamza to the US. Just why this decision has taken so long will baffle most people in the UK. After all retired businessman Christoper Tappin was shipped off double quick and the European Court of Human Rights thought that would be fine and dandy.
Six controversial extradition cases were up for a ruling today and in 5 out of the 6 cases the judges agreed the accused could be sent to the US.
Hamza had argued that extradition to the US would be a violation of the European human rights code, which prohibits inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners. Although Hamza is in effect on his way to the US in reality there is still some way to go. If a further appeal is lodged within the next three months the extradition will be halted once again.
UK Home Secretary Theresa May has used some of these high profile cases as examples as to why the Human Rights Act is flawed. However to imply that this means the Act should be scrapped is nonsense. It may need some revision but these days our Human Rights need protecting more than ever. As the media have reported, "Critics claim the extradition treaty, which was agreed after the September 11 terror attacks in New York, needs to be rebalanced to give Britons greater protection."
Currently however there appears to be a farcical feeling to the UK and its extradition laws. UK citizens are being shipped off with hardly a thought to their human rights, take for example Christopher Tappin, whilst people such as Abu Qatada have their appeals upheld.
After today's ruling SkyNews reported that: "The judges rejected the men's claims they could face prison conditions and jail terms that would expose them to "torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". The ruling is a boost for the Government, although the court stressed it only becomes final after three months, if there is no further appeal. Home Secretary Theresa May welcomed the decision and said the suspects would be handed over "as quickly as possible" Between 1999 and 2006, the six men were all indicted on terrorism charges by the US and their extradition requested - leading to their arrests in Britain"
The other men have been named as, Babar Ahmad, Haroon Rashid Aswat, Syed Tahla Ahsan and Adel Abdul Bary.
Full report here
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog