Long arm of the U.S. law grabs ”The Hook”.
UK extradites Islamist cleric to United States
Abu Hamza al-Masri deported to the US to face terrorism charges after failing in his eight-year battle to avoid extradition.
LONDON – Britain extradited Islamist cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri to the United States on Friday to face terrorism charges after the one-eyed radical preacher finally failed in his eight-year battle to avoid deportation.
The Egyptian-born Abu Hamza is accused by Washington of supporting al-Qaida, aiding a kidnapping in Yemen and plotting to open a training camp for militants in the United States.
The 54-year-old cleric, jailed in Britain for inciting followers to kill non-believers, also achieved notoriety for praising the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States and running a mosque in north London that Britain said was a hotbed of Islamist radicalism.
He was taken from a high-security prison in central England in a convoy guarded by large numbers of police to a US airbase where he was handed over to US officials and put on a plane to the United States.
Earlier, two London High Court judges dismissed his request to delay the proceedings in order to allow the cleric, who did not attend the hearing, to undergo a brain scan that his lawyers said would prove he was unfit to be extradited.
Instead, the judges said, “The sooner he is put on trial, the better.”
“It is unacceptable that extradition proceedings should take more than a relatively short time, to be measured in months not years,” they added.
Britain had vowed to extradite him as soon as possible after his appeal was rejected. Hours later, he was on his way out of the country.