British cleric wins round on extradition

Nov. 5, 2010 at 1:33 PM
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LONDON, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- A jailed extremist Muslim cleric Friday won an appeal to keep his British passport and delay extradition to the United States.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission agreed that revoking the passport of Abu Hamza, former imam of the Finsbury Park mosque in London, would make him stateless since he had already been stripped of his Egyptian citizenship, The Guardian reported. The ruling puts more obstacles before U.S. authorities who want to try him on terrorism charges.

Hamza, 52, was sentenced to seven years in Britain in February 2006 for inciting murder and racial hatred.

He is in a London prison as he fights the extradition on charges of collaborating with Taliban and al-Qaida terrorists, assisting the kidnapping of 16 tourists in Yemen in 1998 and trying to establish a jihadist training camp in Oregon in 1999.

In July, the European Court of Human Rights demanded more information on the length of his sentence and the conditions he would experience if sent to a U.S. "supermax" prison in Colorado.

The previous British government tried to send him to the United States before his term was over, but the extradition was halted after his lawyers went to the European court.

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