Terror suspects set for extradition

St Helens Star: Abu Hamza lost a last-ditch legal challenge to avoid extradition to the United States Abu Hamza lost a last-ditch legal challenge to avoid extradition to the United States

Radical cleric Abu Hamza has arrived at a military airbase where he will be handed over to US officials and flown to America to face terror charges.

Hamza was transported by officers from the Metropolitan Police's extradition unit to RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk along with four other terror suspects after Home Secretary Theresa May was given the go-ahead for their immediate extradition.

The men had made last-ditch challenges against removal from the UK which were rejected by two High Court judges in London. It is believed the five terror suspects left HMP Long Lartin in Worcestershire in a police convoy that included armoured vans at around 7.15pm on Friday.

The cavalcade of police vehicles arrived at RAF Mildenhall around three hours later and it is thought the men are in the process of being handed over to US marshals and put on jets back to America.

Sir John Thomas, president of the Queen's Bench Division, and Mr Justice Ouseley rejected an application by 54-year-old Hamza, a former imam at Finsbury Park mosque in north London, to be given time to undergo a brain scan his lawyers said could show he is medically unfit to face trial.

They also threw out challenges by Babar Ahmad, Syed Ahsan, Khaled Al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary.

All five cases returned to the High Court after judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) refused to intervene and stop the Home Secretary extraditing them.

In a ruling lasting more than two hours, the judges announced that their "extradition to the United States of America may proceed immediately" and "released" Mrs May from undertakings she had given pending the judgment not to extradite. After the decisions were given, the Home Office said Hamza and the others would be extradited to the US "as quickly as possible".

Confirming the suspects were now in the process of being transferred to the United States, a US Embassy spokeswoman said: "The US government agrees with the ECHR's findings that the conditions of confinement in US prisons - including in maximum security facilities - do not violate European standards."

"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."

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