Report: U.K. plans Hamza handoff to U.S.

Oct. 4, 2012 at 2:01 PM

LONDON, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Plans are in place to transport five terrorism suspects, including Muslim cleric Abu Hamza, to the United States, Britain's The Sun reported Thursday.

Citing a source, the newspaper said two chartered jets were on standby and the suspects would be handed over to U.S. authorities on the tarmac of a British airport.

"The operation is being overseen by the U.S. Justice Department," the source was quoted as saying. "The cost will be picked up by the U.S."

Alun Jones, a lawyer for Hamza, argued in court in London Wednesday Hamza should not be extradited to the United States for health reasons. Jones said Hamza suffers from depression and short-term memory loss and needs further medical evaluation.

Hamza's defense team blamed his health problems on "unrelentingly harsh" prison conditions, the BBC reported.

Hamza and the other suspects -- Babar Ahmed, Khaled al-Fawwaz, Adel Abdul Bary and Syed Talha Ahsan -- face U.S. charges of planning a terror training camp in the United States and assisting hostage-taking in Yemen.

Hamza, jailed for seven years for soliciting to murder and inciting racial hatred, has been fighting extradition since 2004. Ahmed has been held in a British prison without trial for eight years, accused of fundraising for terrorism through a website. Fawwaz and Bary are accused of being aides to Osama bin Laden. Ahsan is being held for his alleged involvement with a series of terrorist websites.

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