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May 27, 2004
Telegraph: Abu Hamza To Be Extradited To US

The London Telegraph reports this morning that Abu Hamza, a radical muslim cleric linked to Britons held in Guantanamo, has been arrested in a dawn raid and will soon be extradited to the US:

Police were acting on an extradition warrant issued by the US government: it is thought the US authorities plan to charge him with terror-related offences. ... According to The Sun, the preacher faces deportation to the US on terror charges. The newspaper also claimed that sources in Washington revealed that the extradition process has been under way in secret for weeks.

While this article does not detail the charges pending against Hamza, an earlier Telegraph article from February reported that the US wanted Hamza in relation to al-Qaeda recruitment activity in Oregon:

The American authorities are understood to be close to presenting a formal request for Hamza's extradition to face accusations contained in US court papers that he conspired to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon and recruited young men to fight for the Taliban in Afghanistan.

A new Anglo-American extradition treaty, which removes the requirement for the US to produce prima facie evidence of an offence, came into force on Jan 1.

US officials hope they can use the new treaty to extradite Hamza without the long delays that continue to hamper other requests - including three suspected al-Qa'eda members who have been in jail here [in the UK] since 1998 while they contest US extradition warrants.

Apparently, the new treaty worked, and Hamza will return to the US soon to face federal terrorism charges. I presume that the US will use the civil courts rather than a military tribunal since Hamza was not captured on the battlefield or in action while conducting terrorist activity, but the news reports do not address that. Either way, we can expect that Hamza's arrival will be met with the usual protests from the usual people regarding Hamza's loss of civil liberties, complete with Amnesty International hyperbole as we saw yesterday, claiming that America's war on terror has been the worst thing that ever happened to human rights -- a viewpoint that would only have a glimmer of hope of being true if one managed to sleep through the entire 20th century.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 27, 2004 6:58 AM

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