London: A radical cleric described as the face of violent extremism in Britain has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights challenging its decision that he can be extradited to the United States to face terror charges.
Abu Hamza, who controlled the Finsbury mosque in London, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment after being convicted in 2006 of inciting hatred. He is also charged with offences relating to hostage taking in Yemen and an alleged plot to set-up a terrorism training camp in the United States.
Lawyers acting on behalf of Hamza applied for the case to be heard by the court`s Grand Chamber just 24 hours before a deadline to file an appeal to the April 10 decision by the court to extradite him to the US was due to pass.
A panel of five judges will now consider whether there are grounds for such an appeal.
However, the judges are not expected to sit for at least two months, and until then, the extradition will be put on hold. If they conclude there is a case to answer, it is likely to be at least another year before the Grand Chamber rules on it.
In April, the European Court of Human Rights backed the extradition of Abu Hamza and four other terror suspects to the US, holding that there would be no violation of human rights for those facing life and solitary confinement in a "supermax" prison.
Hamza`s extradition to the US had been cleared along with four other suspects, Babar Ahmad, Talha Ahsan, Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled-al-Fawwaz.