Monday, June 18, 2018

British court rules five terror suspects can be extradited to U.S.

LONDON — Radical preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri and four other terror suspects who have fought for years to avoid facing charges in the United States have no more grounds for appeal and can be extradited from Britain immediately, Britain's High Court ruled Friday.

The U.S. Embassy said it was pleased with the decision, and the British government said it planned to put the men on planes to the United States "as quickly as possible."

The BBC reported that its correspondent saw a police convoy carrying al-Masri leave the Long Lartin Prison in central England. The convoy later arrived at an air force base in eastern England, according to the broadcaster.

Judges John Thomas and Duncan Ouseley rejected last-ditch applications by al-Masri, Khaled al-Fawwaz, Babar Ahmad, Adel Abdul Bary and Syed Talha Ahsan, who have been battling extradition for between eight and 14 years.

The five have sought to avoid extradition by raising concerns about human rights and the conditions they would face in a U.S. prison.

Both British and European courts have ruled that they can be sent to the United States to face charges, but they sought last-minute injunctions from the High Court.

The best known of the defendants is al-Masri, an Egyptian-born former nightclub bouncer who turned London's Finsbury Park Mosque into a training ground for radical Islamists during the 1990s. The mosque was once attended by Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and "shoe bomber" Richard Reid.

Al-Masri is wanted on charges that include conspiring with Seattle men to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon and helping abduct 16 hostages, two of them American tourists, in Yemen in 1998.

Ahmad and Ahsan face charges in Connecticut relating to websites that allegedly sought to raise cash, recruit fighters and find equipment for terrorists in Afghanistan and Chechnya.

Bary and al-Fawwaz were indicted with others, including Osama bin Laden, for their alleged roles in the bombings of two U.S. embassies in east Africa in 1998. Al-Fawwaz faces more than 269 counts of murder.

Al-Masri has been in a British jail since 2004 on separate charges of inciting racial hatred and encouraging followers to kill non-Muslims.

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