Abu Hamza al-Misri, the one-armed Islamist cleric who has managed to avoid extradition from Britain for the last eight years, will finally be sent to the United States, where he is wanted on a wide range of terrorism charges. Per the Telegraph:
The hate cleric, and four other terrorism suspects, yesterday had their case against removal to the US thrown out by the European Court of Human Rights.
A panel of five judges rejected an application to take the case to the Strasbourg’s upper Grand Chamber on grounds that their extradition to America would breach their human rights.
It means there is now no other barrier to deporting Hamza and the others and they could be on a plane within a matter of days.
It brings to an end a series of long legal battles by the terror suspects which has cost the taxpayer more than £4 million in detention and legal bills.
One of the cases had has been running for more than 13 years and Hamza extradition fight has run since 2004.
As you might imagine, Hamza — nicknamed “Captain Hook” by the British press — is quite the charmer:
Hamza, who lost both hands and an eye fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, is charged in the US with 11 counts relating to the taking of 16 hostages in Yemen in 1998, advocating jihad in Afghanistan in 2001 and conspiring to establish a jihad training camp in Bly, Oregon in 2000–2001.
The American authorities first requested his extradition in 2004 but the process was almost immediately put on hold when Hamza was charged in the UK with 15 offences under the Terrorism Act, temporarily staying the US extradition process.
In 2006 he was found guilty on 11 charges, including inciting murder and race hate, and was jailed for seven years.
By dint of Britain’s membership in the European Union, the United States was obligated to agree that it would not seek the death penalty for Hamza in exchange for his extradition being granted. While this may disappoint many, it is worth celebrating that the European Court of Human Rights has finally moved aside on the matter — potentially setting a positive precedent. Since September 11, 2001, the ECHR has been a constant thorn in the side of British counterterrorism efforts, and has repeatedly prevented the government from deporting obvious threats. Today, a Home Office spokesman said that the government “will work to ensure that the individuals are handed over to the US authorities as quickly as possible.” Better late than never.