Abu Hamza’s release bid rejected

Controversial Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has been denied bail despite claiming he is in constant pain.

Mr Abu Hamza, who has no hands, is in London’s Belmarsh prison where he says his diabetes and skin condition cannot be properly treated.

But the city’s Bow Street Magistrates dismissed his bail application, which suggested house arrest instead of jail. North London-based Mr Abu Hamza faces extradition to the US over a string of terrorism-related charges.

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The US authorities are accusing him of 11 charges, including involvement in the 1989 Yemen kidnapping in which three Britons died.

He will appear again on 13 October before the full extradition hearing is due to resume on 19 October.

Mr Abu Hamza, 47, said his conditions had got worse since he was taken into custody in May.

His lawyer, Paul Hynes, said he should be under house arrest at his home in Hammersmith, west London, because Belmarsh’s hospital wing “simply cannot manage his condition”.

Mr Hynes said: “This now is a man who has deteriorated to a very significant degree indeed.

“There is very little prospect whatsoever in Belmarsh of his symptoms being alleviated.”

District Judge Timothy Workman said he would contact Prison Service chief, Phil Wheatley, to express the court’s “concern” over Mr Hamza’s treatment.

Camp allegation

He said: “Mr Hamza has a very serious and obvious disability and the prison service must cater for it.”

The former preacher at a Finsbury Park mosque could face various charges including attempting to set up a terrorist training camp in the north-western US state of Oregon and sending someone to Afghanistan to fight for the Taleban.

If the court rules he should be extradited, the home secretary would have to decide whether to order it.

Mr Abu Hamza’s lawyers argue he will not get a fair hearing in the US.

They also say British police had already investigated Mr Abu Hamza over the Yemen kidnapping and no charges were brought.

Under UK law he cannot be extradited to face execution overseas and any such sentence, if imposed, would not be carried out.


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Oct. 6, 2004
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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday October 7, 2004.
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