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article imageAbu Hamza extradited to US after UK ruling

By Layne Weiss     Oct 6, 2012 in World
London - Radical cleric Abu Hamza and four other terrorist suspects have been extradited from the UK to the US. The men were flown out late Friday after Britain's High Court gave approval for them to be removed from the UK immediately.
The men made one final appeal against the extradition, but the High Court judges denied it, BBC News reports.
The judges said the men, Abu Hamza, Babar Ahmad, Syed Talha Ahsan, Adel Abdul Bary, and Khaled al-Fawwaz, did not prove they had any significant reasons to remain in the UK.
After the men's US bound flights had taken off, UK Home secretary Theresa May announced, "I can confirm that tonight two planes have left the RAF Mildenhall to transport Abu Hamza, Babar Ahmad, Syed Talha Ahsan, Adel Abdul Bary, and Khaled al-Fawwaz to the US to face trial," The Guardian reports.
"I am pleased the decision of the court today meant that these men, who used every available opportunity to frustrate and delay the extradition process over so many years, could finally be removed," May continued.
Hamza, an Egyptian-born former nightclub owner, is probably the most famous of the defendants. In the 1990s, he turned London's Finsbury Park Mosque into a training ground for radical Islamists, The AP reports. The Mosque was visited by 9/11 co-conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and "shoe bomber" Richard Reid.
Hamza faces 11 charges in the US including conspiring with men in Seattle to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon, and helping to kidnap 16 hostages in Yemen in 1998.
He is set to appear in court within 24 hours of his arrival to the US, BBC News reports.
A lawyer who handles similar cases says it is unlikely Hamza will testify.
He is expected to be imprisoned at New York's Metropolitan Correction Center in an area "reserved for high profile prisoners."
Hamza is 54 and has one eye and hooks in place of hands. His lawyers say his physical and mental health are deteriorating, and that is unfair to keep him in a prison, The AP reports. They claim he suffers from depression, sleep deprivation, diabetes, and other health problems.
Hamza's pre-trial will likely take place in about 3 weeks, but it could be between one and three years before the actual trial takes place.
Ahmad and Ahsan are being charged in Connecticut in relation to websites that sought to raise money, recruit fighters, and get equipment for terrorists in Afghanistan and Chechnya, The AP reports.
A US district court hearing has been scheduled to take place in Connecticut, BBC News reports.
Following Friday's ruling, Babar Ahmad commented that he had lost his "eight year and two month battle to be extradited to the US,"The Guardian reports. He thanked those who had supported him and his family throughout the years.
His father, Ashfaq Ahmad, said he was "appalled" at how the system has let him and his family down, especially after paying taxes in the United Kingdom for "over 40 years."
Bary and al-Fawwaz were indicted with Osama Bin Laden among others for their involvement in the US bombings in east Africa in 1998, The Guardian reports.
Al-Fawwaz is being charged with more than 269 counts of murder, The AP reports.
The High Court's ruling Friday brought an end to a very lengthy legal battle. The men's extradition requests were made between eight and fourteen years ago, BBC News reports.
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