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Muslim cleric asks UK court to block extradition to US

[JURIST] Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] on Wednesday appealed the UK Home Office's approval of his extradition [JURIST report] to the US on charges of supporting terrorism, arguing that UK courts should review the evidence against Abu Hamza before he is extradited. Abu Hamza, currently serving a seven-year sentence in the UK [JURIST report] for urging his followers to kill Jews and other non-Muslims, faces US charges [PDF text; JURIST report] of attempting to establish terrorist training camps in Oregon, conspiring to take hostages in Yemen, and helping terror training in Afghanistan. A British court ruled in favor of extradition [JURIST report] in November but final approval from UK Home Secretary Jacqui Smith [official profile] was required before Abu Hamza could be deported. Abu Hamza would have been deported within four weeks of the Home Office [official website] approval if no appeal had been filed.

The US initially sought extradition [BBC report] in February 2006, but hearings were delayed while Abu Hamza appealed his UK conviction. The US renewed its extradition efforts [JURIST report] in May 2007, after the UK House of Lords denied Abu Hamza's request to continue his court appeals. AP has more.

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