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UK Court OKs Extradition of Cleric

  International  -   POSTED: 2007/11/16 11:24

Radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri can be extradited to the United States to face trial on charges of supporting terrorism, a British court ruled Thursday.

Al-Masri has been charged with trying to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon, conspiring to take hostages in Yemen and facilitating terrorist training in Afghanistan.

He is already serving a seven-year sentence in Britain for fomenting racial hatred and urging his followers to kill non-Muslims.

Senior District Judge Timothy Workman, presiding at City of Westminster Magistrates Court, said the case would now be referred to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith for a final decision.

Smith has two months to decide whether to surrender Al-Masri to the U.S. If she decides to hand the cleric over, he can then appeal to Britain's High Court, the House of Lords and the European Court of Human Rights.

Al-Masri, who lost both arms below the elbows and an eye fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, was arrested on a U.S. extradition warrant in May 2004, but the process was put on hold while he stood trial in Britain and then appealed his convictions.

In January, the House of Lords denied al-Masri permission to make further appeals, clearing the way for extradition proceedings.


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