US seeks extradition of Muslim cleric imprisoned in UK

US seeks extradition of Muslim cleric imprisoned in UK

[JURIST] Lawyers for the US government argued for the extradition of Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] in a hearing before a London court Thursday. Al-Masri is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence [JURIST report] in Britain for urging his followers to kill Jews and other non-Muslims and using "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior" to stir up racial hatred. Hamza faces US charges [PDF text] of attempting to establish terrorist training camps both in Oregon and in Afghanistan. The hearing, initially scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed [BBC report] to give Hamza time to recover from an operation.

The US called for Hamza's extradition last year [BBC report], but hearings were delayed pending his appeal of his current conviction in the UK courts. The appeals were dismissed [JURIST report] in November. Hamza's lawyers say the extradition warrant should be dismissed because it was issued on evidence obtained by torture. AP has more.