Saturday, October 06, 2012

Radical cleric Abu Hamza heads to US court

After years of legal wrangling the radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has arrived in the United States to face charges of terror related offences.

Appeals rejected

Abu Hamza is one of five men deported on Friday, within hours of High Court judges rejecting their final appeals. On Saturday the US Attorney General confirmed the arrival of a flight carrying two of the other terror suspects Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan. They are due before a court in Connecticut in connection with the alleged running of a pro-jihad website.

On Friday, UK judges ruled the five men, Abu Hamza, Babar Ahmad, Syed Talha Ahsan, Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled al-Fawwaz, had not shown "new and compelling" reasons to stay in the UK. Following the rejection of final appeals, Home Secretary Theresa May expressed her delight at the decision.

Home Secretary pleased

"I am pleased the decision of the court today meant that these men, who used every available opportunity to frustrate and delay the extradition process over many years, could finally be removed," May said. "This government has co-operated fully with the courts and pressed at every stage to ensure this happened."

Speaking only after the US-bound flights had taken off, May said: "I can confirm that tonight two planes have left RAF Mildenhall to transport Abu Hamza, Babar Ahmad, Adel Abdul Bary, Syed Ahsan and Khalid al-Fawwaz to the US to face trial.

Terror offences

Abu Hamza faces 11 charges in the US relating to hostage taking, conspiracy to establish a militant training camp and calling for holy war in Afghanistan. Meanwhile Khalid al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary are accused of being aides to Osama Bin Laden in London.

The case surrounding Abu Hamza has captivated the British press who have printed sensationalist stories on the radical preacher who once worked out of Finsbury Park mosque. He has been the focus of press attention since shortly after the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001 as he praised the terrorists and called them heroes. While many tabloids celebrated Hamza's final departure for the US, many criticised the long and expensive legal battle that has cost the British taxpayer in excess of £25 million [The Sun / The Mirror / Daily Star / Daily Express / Daily Mail]. The broadsheets also expressed satisfaction that the radical cleric was heading to the US to face trial, though the tone was more serious [Telegraph / Guardian / Independent / FT / Times (subscription)]. 

He was also connected to the now banned radical Islamic organisation al-Muhajiroun which was condemned by critics for condoning or glorifying terrorism. [BBC / Sky / CNN / Al-JazeeraPress TV]

Related stories from tvnewswatch: Extradition ruling due on terror suspect / Abu Hamza to be extradited to US / Radical cleric sentenced to 7 years / UK radical cleric trial underway / Terror threat real and growing / Terrorist awarded 2,500 pounds / War on Terror - More abuse pictures / Kember due to arrive in UK Saturday

tvnewswatch, London, UK

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