UK court: Radical cleric can't appeal extradition to US

Abu Hamza al-Masri accused of helping to set up terrorist training camp in rural Oregon.

abu hamza al masri 298.8 (photo credit: AP)
abu hamza al masri 298.8
(photo credit: AP)
A British court ruled Wednesday that a radical Muslim preacher accused of helping to set up a terrorist training camp in rural Oregon cannot appeal against extradition to the United States to face terrorism charges. Justice Igor Judge refused Abu Hamza al-Masri's application to challenge his extradition in the House of Lords, the country's highest court of appeal. The High Court ruled last month that al-Masri should be sent to the US, where an 11-count indictment accuses him of offenses including supporting al-Qaida and the Taliban. Al-Masri's lawyers can still appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. His attorneys have questioned US assurances that he would not be mistreated or face the death penalty if convicted. US officials allege al-Masri, 51, conspired to establish a training camp in Bly, Oregon, where followers received combat and weapons training for violent jihad in Afghanistan. They also say he assisted extremists who kidnapped 16 foreign tourists in Yemen in 1998. Three British tourists and one Australian visitor were killed in a shootout between Yemeni security forces and the captors. Al-Masri also is accused of facilitating terrorist training in Afghanistan. The former imam at London's Finsbury Park Mosque, al-Masri is one of Britain's best-known Islamist radicals. The Egyptian-born preacher is blind in one eye and has hooks in place of the hands he says he lost fighting Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Under his leadership the Finsbury Park mosque became a magnet for extremists. Its worshipers included Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and "shoe bomber" Richard Reid. He was arrested in London on a US extradition warrant in 2004, but the process was put on hold while he stood trial in Britain for inciting racial hatred and encouraging followers to kill non-Muslims. He was convicted in 2006 and is serving a seven-year sentence.