The New York Times on October 2, 2012 released the following:
“By ALAN COWELL
LONDON — Lawyers for a Muslim cleric wanted in the United States on terrorism charges said on Tuesday that the preacher, Abu Hamza al-Masri, was physically unfit to face the accusations against him and that it would be “oppressive to extradite him” under the terms of British law.
Mr. Masri, 54, has been resisting extradition since 2004. American prosecutors want him to face charges of calling for holy war in Afghanistan, involvement in kidnappings in Yemen and participating in a plot to set up a terrorism training camp in Bly, Ore.
Mr. Masri, who was born in Egypt and was notorious for fiery sermons at the Finsbury Park mosque in North London, has been in prison in Britain since 2006 on separate charges, including incitement to murder.
Over the years, he has successfully avoided extradition through a series of legal hearings. But, last week, the European Court of Human Rights rejected a request for the right to appeal — a decision that British officials took as the final word permitting his extradition.
In court filings on Tuesday before a scheduled High Court hearing, Mr. Masri’s counsel, Alun Jones, said he would seek an interim injunction arguing that there is an “uncontradicted medical opinion that a scan is medically necessary” in light of the cleric’s “deteriorating health.”
If medical tests find him “unfit to plead, or arguably so, it will be argued that it would be oppressive to extradite within the meaning of” Britain’s extradition laws, Mr. Jones said according to The Press Association news agency.
The law is very clear, Mr. Jones said. “If a person is established to be unfit to plead, he should not be extradited.” But if “there is an issue” concerning fitness to plead, “he should indeed be extradited.”
Mr. Jones said a judge had referred in 2008 to Mr. Masri’s “very poor health.”
“Over four years later, it appears there has been, or may have been, a further deterioration, perhaps attributable to sleep deprivation and the continued confinement of the appellant in an unrelentingly harsh environment,” the lawyer said.
Mr. Masri, hook-handed and one-eyed from injuries many years ago, is one of five men wanted in the United States on charges ranging from murder to running a jihadist Web site. All five are seeking High Court injunctions to prevent their extradition, but none of them was expected to appear in court. Their cases will be heard by two judges over the next few days.
The four other suspects are Seyla Talha Ahsan, Adel Abdul Bary, Khaled al-Fawwaz and Babar Ahmad. Mr. Bary and Mr. Al-Fawwaz were charged with multiple murders in the 1998 bombings of the American Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, which killed more than 200 people. Mr. Ahsan, like Mr. Ahmad, is charged with providing support to terrorists and conspiracy-related offenses.
British civil liberties activists have complained about the treatment in particular of Mr. Ahmad, 37, a computer expert accused of being a fund-raiser for terrorist causes. He has been held without charge or trial for eight years. In an unusual interview earlier this year, Mr. Ahmad declared: ‘’I have been in prison now for nearly eight years without trial. I am facing extradition to the U.S. to spend the rest of my life in solitary confinement. I have never been questioned about the allegations against me. I have never been shown the evidence against me.”
Last April, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Britain could legally extradite all five men. They asked for the right of appeal but that request was denied last week, triggering the latest moves at the High Court.”
Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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