Cleric Abu Hamza cleared for US extradition

The radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza can be extradited to the US to face terror charges, a court has ruled.

London’s City of Westminster Magistrates Court ruled that Abu Hamza al-Masri can now be tried in the US for allegedly trying to set up an al-Qa’eda training camp in Oregon.

He is wanted by US authorities on a total of 11 charges.

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Following the court ruling, the extradition can go ahead provided it gets the approval of Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary.

Egyptian-born Hamza, 49, who is fitted with hooks on both partially-amputated arms, is currently serving a seven-year jail term for inciting followers to murder non-believers.

He was arrested on an extradition warrant issued by the US administration in May 2004 but the process was put on hold when he stood trial in Britain and attempted to appeal against his convictions.

A decision by the House of Lords in January this year to refuse him leave to make a further appeal against his convictions left the path clear for extradition proceedings.

Senior District Judge Timothy Workman said: “The defendant is currently serving a sentence of imprisonment in the United Kingdom, but subject to any representations from counsel I propose to send the matter to the Secretary of State for his decision on whether the defendant should be extradited to America.”

The defence counsel Alun Jones QC said that he would be making submissions to the Home Office and he would also be writing to the Attorney General urging that the case be prosecuted in the UK.

Earlier this year Hamza’s wife complained about her husband’s treatment in high-security Belmarsh prison.

In a letter to a London-based Islamic organisation, Nagat Mostafa, 46, said her husband claimed to be the victim of racist bullying and Islamophobia.

An estimated one in six of Belmarsh’s 920 prisoners is Muslim. Prison officers have warned of the threat of extremists “radicalising” inmates.

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