| || |
Radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza, 56, was jailed for life in a New York court Friday.
On April 10, 2012, news broke that the UK could finally extradite Islamic Cleric Abu Hamza to the US.
Just why the decision took so long was baffling.
In a separate case retired British businessman Christoper Tappin was shipped off double quick to face a court in the USA and the European Court of Human Rights thought that would be fine and dandy.
April 10 2012 though was a bumper day for extradition decisions as six controversial cases were up for a ruling 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 was sent on his way to the US in 2012 in reality there was still some way to go.
We reported that if a further appeal was lodged within the next three months the extradition would be halted once again.
In the end Hamza was found guilty in May 2014 of multiple charges, including hostage-taking and plotting to set up a terrorism training camp in the US but his lawyers have been fighting to get him a mitigating sentence.
His legal team argued that plans to jail Hamza in Colorado's Supermax federal prison would violate assurances the US made to judges in London to secure his 2012 extradition.
The man is missing an eye and part of an arm and his hands.
Federal prison officials will now decide on which jail he will serve his life sentence.
"Judge Katherine Forrest called Abu Hamza's actions "barbaric" and "misguided" and said she was sentencing him to life because she could not think of a time when it would be safe to release him."
Hamza born Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, was convicted on 11 counts, including involvement in a plot to take Western tourists hostages in Yemen in 1998. Three Britons and an Australian died when the Yemeni army launched a rescue bid. Laurence Whitehouse, from Hampshire, UK, escaped but his wife Margaret was killed. "There has been a gross injustice in the length of time taken in bringing these matters to a conclusion." Mr Whitehouse said reports BBC News.
Colorado's Supermax prison
British authorities have been trying to rid the UK of Muslim Cleric Abu Hamza for more years that they care to remember. Finally his extradition to the USA is on the cards. Hamza tried every means open to him to prevent his extradition. The latest has been an appeal by representatives insisting that he needs medical diagnostic tests before he is extradited. The judge was not having any more of this though and ruled that such tests, if they are necessary, can be carried out in the US.
Four more men will be extradited with Hamza. All are often referred to as terror suspects. These are Babar Ahmad, Syed Talha Ahsan, Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled al-Fawwaz. Judges have decided that there is no new nor compelling evidence which would halt extradition proceedings.
The extradition proceedings will now get under way. According to the BBC this is what will happen next:
The family of Babar Ahmad, a UK citizen, have voiced their frustration at his possible extradition. His case is somewhat different to that of Abu Hamza. Babar and his family have pressed for a trial in the UK. Our earlier report included the following which was from a BBC report: "The Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service have denied impropriety. The unprecedented interview in the maximum security Long Lartin Prison came after the BBC challenged a government ban on filming Mr Ahmad. The High Court ruled that there was an overwhelming public interest in hearing Mr Ahmad discuss his case, because of his unique situation.
"I have been in prison now for nearly eight years without trial," Mr Ahmad said. "I am facing extradition to the US to spend the rest of my life in solitary confinement. I have never been questioned about the allegations against me. "I do not hold the Americans responsible for anything that has happened to me, but I think it is fair to say that I am fighting for my life - and I am running out of time."
The 37-year-old from Tooting in south London was arrested in 2004 on an extradition warrant from the United States.The BBC fought a High Court battle to allow Mr Ahmad to be interviewed. US prosecutors say he headed a terrorist "support cell" in London through a website called Azzam.com. He faces life imprisonment if convicted. Scotland Yard had arrested Mr Ahmad the previous year, but released him without charge."
Since when did the UK not try suspects? Mr Ahmad's father has said that his son should face trial in the UK. The only link to the US appears to be that the website was hosted in the USA. How can people be held for such long periods of time with no trial?? No hard evidence? No proof of guilt?
The UK and British people pride themselves on the excellent legal processes the country abides by. What is so different in the case of Babar Hamad?
Around 19:15pm Friday October 5, the men were all taken by police escort from Long Lartin prison to RAF Mildenhall. The men are expected to be handed over to US marshals waiting there. According to the BBC "A US Department of Justice-owned civilian Gulfstream jet," has been waiting since Tuesday of this week. As all the men should be facing a civilian court no army officers should be present.
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