Egyptian-born Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to 11 criminal charges [press release]. His charges include [Reuters report] taking hostages, providing material support to terrorist groups, including al Qaeda [JURIST news archive], and conspiring do such acts. He made his first appearance [JURIST report] in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] on Saturday after being extradited from the UK. During his first appearance, charges against him were heard and confirmed. Under the extradition ruling of the High Court of England and Wales and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website], federal prosecutors are not allowed to seek death penalty against al-Masri.
Al-Masri's extradition was approved by the High Court of England and Wales last week after being temporarily delayed [JURIST reports] by the same court late last month. The court's decision came a week after the ECHR 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 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.