UK terror suspects to be extradited to US
Babar Ahmed along with four others told by European court no rights violation would occur if they are sent to the US.
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that five UK terror suspects should be extradited from the UK to the US.
The Strasbourg court held there would be no violation of human rights for those facing life or solitary confinement in certain prison conditions.
Abu Hamza, a radical preacher, and Babar Ahmad, an alleged fund-raiser for “terrorists” who has been in prison since 2004, will now be extradicted to the US along with Seyla Talha Ahsan, Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled Al-Fawwaz.
The court’s ruling can still hypothetically be appealed to its final Grand Chamber; however, in practice very few cases are reheard in that final forum.
The men have three months to try to persuade the Grand Chamber to reopen the entire case and examine it. If the men fail to launch an appeal, they will be extradited to the US.
The case of Haroon Rashid Aswat has been adjourned as the judges need to see more submissions on his schizophrenia and how that would be treated were he sent to the US.
All six had appealed against any US extradition as they say on arrival they might be held in a high-security prison in Colorado, known as a “supermax” prison and claim that if convicted there is very little or no prospect of ever being released.
In July 2010, European judges had stopped extradition proceedings, they had argued that the court needed more time to consider the complaints that the men’s rights would be breached if they were to be sent the US, exposing them to possible life imprisonment without parole and solitary confinement.
Abu-Hamza, a preacher at London’s Fisbury Park Mosque, rose to prominence for inciting racial hatred.
He is currently serving a seven-year sentence in the UK.
Described by the US as a “terrorist facilitator with a global reach”, as he was wanted in the US on 11 charges related to claims that he took 16 hostages in Yemen in 1998, promoted violent jihad in Afghanistan in 2001 and conspired to set up a jihad training camp in the state of Oregon.
Babar Ahmed, has been held without trial in the UK for eight years has been refused bail since his arrest on a US extradition warrant.
Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba reporting from London says: ” Babar Ahmed is Britain’s longest serving prisoners who is held without trial.”
“His supporters say it is a ridiculous kafkaesque ruling, in the USA he is accused of running a website which provided material for the Taliban and money laundering.”
He denies terror-related charges, as in an interview he says: “I do not hold the Americans responsible for anything that has happened to me but I think it is fair to say that I am fighting for my life – and I am running out of time.”
In a statement his supporters and family say they will fight the ruling.
“We are very disappointed with the decision of the European Court of Human Rights. While the decision deals with the issue of prison conditions in the US, the fundamental question remains as to why this matter has even got to Strasbourg and why Babar even needs to be extradited to the US,” said the statement.
Al-Fawwaz and Bary are accused of being involved in US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
Aswat is accused of a being part of an alleged terror camp in Oregon, while Ahsan is accused by a US court of running an extremist website and funding the Taliban.