LONDON - Britain said it would extradite Islamist cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri to the United States as soon as possible after the one-eyed radical preacher finally failed in his eight-year battle to avoid deportation.
The Egyptian-born Abu Hamza is accused by Washington of supporting al Qaeda, aiding a kidnapping in Yemen and plotting to open a training camp for militants in the United States.The 54-year-old also achieved notoriety for praising the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and running a mosque in north London which Britain says acted as a hotbed of Islamist radicalism.
On Friday, two judges at the High Court dismissed his request to delay the proceedings in order to allow the cleric, who did not attend the hearing and is being held in a high-security British prison, to undergo a brain scan that his lawyers said would prove he was unfit to be extradited.
"Extradition may proceed immediately," they said in their ruling.
"It is unacceptable that extradition proceedings should take more than a relatively short time, to be measured in months not years," they added.
Four other terrorism suspects also have lost their appeals against extradition to the United States.
All five cases were sent to the High Court after the European Court of Human Rights refused to stop London extraditing them.