Britain rejects Abu Hamza’s bid to avoid extraditionJune 20th, 2008 - 8:49 pm ICT by IANS
London, June 20 (DPA) An Egyptian-born radical preacher wanted for trial by the US lost the latest stage in his fight against extradition from Britain Friday. The High Court in London ruled that the US extradition request for Abu Hamza did not carry “the smell of the torture chamber”, as had been alleged by his lawyers.
Hamza, 50, is currently serving a seven-year-jail term in Britain for inciting murder and race hate during sermons at London’s Regent’s Park mosque.
His lawyers want him to stand trial in Britain, rather than in the US, where the charges laid against him carry a potential jail term of up to 100 years.
Hamza - also known as “Captain Hook” because of a hook prothesis replacing his right hand he is said to have lost in fighting in Afghanistan - now has a fortnight to decide whether he wants to take his case to the Law Lords in the House of Lords, the highest appeal court in Britain.
He is wanted in the US on 11 charges, including an alleged attempt to set up an Al Qaeda training camp in the US state of Oregon between 1998 and 2000, and supplying funds and recruits to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Hamza is also accused of involvement in a conspiracy to take 12 western tourists hostage in Yemen in 1998.
His lawyers have argued that a trial in the US would be unlawful and also violate his human rights because he would be tried “on the basis of the fruits of torture”.
They claim that torture was used on some individuals during the process of gathering information for Hamza’s extradition request.
But the High Court judges ruled that the decision to extradite, approved by Britain’s Home Secretary Jacqui Smith earlier this year, was “unassailable”.
The argument that the US evidence was “tainted by torture”, and therefore inadmissible, was flawed, they ruled.
None of the material relied on by the US authorities “carries anything of the smell of the torture chamber sufficient to require its exclusion in a trial in this country”, said the ruling.