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Extradited terror suspect makes first appearance in court

Egyptian-born Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] appeared in a New York court for the first time on Saturday after being extradited from the UK. Hamza, who is charged with 11 offenses [press release] heard and confirmed the charges Saturday and will return for a plea hearing on Tuesday. The charges stem [BBC report] from a plan to establish a terrorism training camp within US borders, and will likely face imprisonment without parole at ADX Florence [BOP backgrounder], a super-maximum security prison in Colorado.

Al-Masri's extradition was approved by the High Court of England and Wales earlier this month after being temporarily delayed by the same court issuing an injunction [JURIST reports] late last month. The court's decision comes a week after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] gave its final approval of the extradition, which it had initially approved [JURIST reports] in April. 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 [text] 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.

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