Terror suspect asks Europe rights court to block extradition to US

[JURIST] Egyptian-born radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], currently detained in the UK, filed an appeal challenging a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] allowing his extradition to the US. The ECHR ruled [JURIST report] in April that conditions in US prisons for terror suspects do not violate Article 3 provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights [text] prohibiting torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners. Hamza and four other prisoners are all wanted in the US on terrorism charges and, if extradited, would face imprisonment without parole at ADX Florence [BOP backgrounder], a super-maximum security prison in Colorado. His appeal will stop extradition plans [BBC report] until the court makes a decision on whether to rehear the case. Hamza has been detained in the UK since 2004, when he was arrested at the request of US officials.

The ECHR's decision in April marked a change in position for the court from its position two years ago, when it stayed the extradition [JURIST report] of four of the terrorism suspects to the US, holding that potential punishment could violate European Convention on Human Rights provisions on the prohibition of torture and inhumane or degrading treatment. The UK High Court approved the extradition [JURIST report] of Aswat and Ahmad to the US in 2006. Aswat is wanted in the US on suspicion of setting up a terrorist training camp and Ahmad is wanted for conspiring to kill Americans and running a website used to fund terrorists and recruit al Qaeda members. 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. A British court approved the extradition [JURIST report] of Hamza in 2007. Hamza, who is 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 of attempting to establish terrorist training camps in Oregon, conspiring to take hostages in Yemen, and helping terror training in Afghanistan.

 

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