Alleged Terrorist Abu Hamza al-Masri Faces US Judge

An indictment against Hamza, the ex-imam at the Finsbury Park mosque in London, was unsealed after his arrest by British authorities in 2004. It accused Hamza of a litany of terrorism-related crimes including his alleged role in what turned out to be a deadly hostage-taking operation in Yemen. It also said Hamza had tried to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon and was accused of providing material support to al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The Finsbury Park mosque where Hamza preached was attended by Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid, the infamous "shoe bomber." A senior U.K. terrorism official told the AP the mosque was a "honeypot for extremists."

Hamza and the four other suspects had put up fierce legal opposition to extradition and had argued they had human rights concerns about the conditions they would face in U.S. prisons. The U.S. government first requested Hamza's extradition when he was picked up by British police in 2004.

The U.S. Embassy in London said in a release it was "pleased" with the U.K. court's decision to extradite the group and said the move marked "the end of a lengthy process of litigation."

"The U.S. Government agrees with the ECHR's findings that the conditions of confinement in U.S. prisons -- including in maximum security facilities -- do not violate European standards. In fact, the Court found that services and activities provided in U.S. prisons surpass what is available in most European prisons," the embassy said.

Though the delay in extradition had centered on the treatment Abu Hamza alleged he could expect in U.S. jails, while in England he had complained about how "the taps were faulty" in his prison.

"I understand the faucets work well in U.S. prisons," said one U.K. official on Friday, "and the medical care is excellent as well."

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...