5th Oct 2012 5:28pm | By Editor
Radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri and four other terrorism suspects have failed in their last ditch appeal against being extradited to the US, UK High Court judges have ruled.
The European Court of Human Rights backed previous UK rulings and said Abu Hamza, Babar Ahmad, Syed Talha Ahsan, Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled al-Fawwaz didn’t show "new and compelling" reasons for them not to face charges in the States.
The Home Office has said they will be ‘working to extradite these men as quickly as possible’ and the BBC reports two jets from the US were ‘waiting at an airbase in eastern England’.
In their written ruling, read out in court, judges Sir John Thomas and Mr Justice Ousley said there was an ‘overwhelming public interest in the functioning of the extradition system’ and that there was ‘no appeal from our decision’.
Sir John also commented on the lengthy legal preceding that have finally reached their end.
‘It is unacceptable that extradition proceedings should take more than a relatively short time, to be measured in months not years,’ he said.
‘It is not just to anyone that proceedings such as these should last between 14 and eight years.’
The appeal from Abu Hamza’s lawyers to delay his extradition were on the grounds that an MRI brain scan they hoped to get could show he was unfit to face trial due to degenerative problems.
"The sooner he is put on trial the better," the judges responded.
The former Finsbury Park mosque imam with a hook for a hand claimed to be suffering from chronic sleep deprivation and depression after eight years in prison, his lawyers claimed.
His extradition was first sought in 2004, but stalled when he was tried and convicted for charges relating to his sermons in 2006.
Bary and al-Fawwaz have been accused of being aides to Osama Bin Laden.
The US Government alleges they were involved in 1998 US embassy bombings in East Africa, which resulted in the death of more than 200 people.
Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan have been accused of operating the pro-jihad website Azzam.com – allegedly hosted from the US - and assisting terrorists.
A statement from the US embassy said it was "pleased" the men were being extradited.
"The law enforcement relationship between the United States and United Kingdom is predicated on trust, respect, and the common goals of protecting our nations and eliminating safe havens for criminals, including terrorists," it added.
Image via Getty
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