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Europe court halts extradition to US of radical cleric Hamza

The European Court of Human Rights blocked on Thursday the extradition from Britain to the United States of radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri and three other men facing terror charges.



Strasbourg: The European Court of Human
Rights blocked on Thursday the extradition from Britain to the
United States of radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri and
three other men facing terror charges.

The court said the applications of the four "alleged
international terrorists" against their extradition on human
rights grounds were partially admissible and needed further
examination.
It was in the "interests of the proper conduct of the
proceedings that the applicants should not be extradited while
the cases were being examined by the Court," it said in a
statement.

Egyptian-born Hamza, a former imam of the once-notorious
Finsbury Park mosque in north London who has one eye and a
hook for one hand, is serving a seven-year jail term for
inciting followers to murder non-believers.

The other men in jail awaiting extradition are British
nationals Babar Ahmad, Haroon Rashid Aswat and Seyla Talha
Ahsan.

Britain said they would remain in custody until the
European court reached its final decision.

The Strasbourg-based court said it wanted to look into
the men`s concerns over the length of their possible sentences
and conditions at the ADX Florence "supermax" prison in
Colorado where they were likely to be held.
It gave them until September 2 to submit more arguments.

The four have been indicted on various terrorism charges
in the United States between 2004 and 2006.

Hamza, in his 50s, has been charged with 11 counts
related to the taking of 16 Western tourists in Yemen in 1998
when three Britons and an Australian were killed.

He is also charged with advocating violent jihad in
Afghanistan and conspiring to establish a jihad training camp
in the northwest state of Oregon.

He has lost appeals in Britain against his extradition.

Aswat has been indicted as Hamza`s co-conspirator, the
European court statement said.

Ahmad and Ahsan are accused of providing support to
"terrorists" and conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure,
or damage property in a foreign country, it said.

The judges did not accept the men`s concerns they could
be treated as "enemy combatants", which could carry the death
penalty.

They also rejected the claims that their trials "would
amount to a flagrant denial of justice", the statement said.

PTI

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