UK court approves extradition of British terror suspects to US

[JURIST] The UK High Court ruled [judgment] Thursday that two British citizens charged with terrorism offenses can be extradited to the US to face terrorism charges. Haroon Rashid Aswat [Wikipedia profile; JURIST report], wanted in the US on suspicion of setting up a terrorist training camp, and Babar Ahmad [advocacy website; BBC profile; JURIST report], wanted for conspiring to kill Americans and running a website used to fund terrorists and recruit al Qaeda members, had argued that they should not be extradited to the US because they would be mistreated or tried as enemy combatants. The extraditions were approved only after the US offered assurances that it would not seek the death penalty, try the suspects before military tribunals or declare them enemy combatants. Lord Justice John Laws dismissed the appeal and held that possible mistreatment by the US "would require proof of a quality entirely lacking here" and that the US is a country" in which the United Kingdom has for many years reposed the confidence not only of general good relations, but also of successive bilateral treaties consistently honoured."

Aswat was arrested in August 2005 [JURIST report] by Zambian police and returned to the UK [JURIST report] in connection with the July 7 London bombing attacks [JURIST news archive]. He was later arrested under a US warrant on the suspicion of setting up a terrorist training camp in Oregon five years ago. Ahmad was indicted in the US [arrest warrant and criminal complaint, PDF] in October 2004. Both extradition cases were heard under a "fast track" extradition procedure under the UK Extradition Act 2003 [text] that decreases the burden of proof on certain countries, including the United States. AP has more. BBC News has local coverage.

 

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