ANALYSIS-U.S. civilian courts await extradited militants

April 11, 2012

Chicago Tribune on April 10, 2012 released the following:

“Reuters

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON, April 10 (Reuters) – When the Obama administration declared it wanted to put suspects involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on trial in a New York federal courtroom, cries of outrage erupted in the U.S. Congress.

Both Democrats and Republicans worried this would put New York City in the crosshairs for new al Qaeda attacks. Congress eventually passed a law forbidding the administration from trying alleged Sept. 11 conspirators, or any other militantsdetained at the U.S. military facility at Guantanamo, Cuba, in U.S. civilian courts.

But when it comes to the cases of five alleged top militants whose extradition from Britain to the United States a European human rights court approved on Tuesday, the White House will have no choice.

British and U.S. officials said the Obama administration had given ironclad assurances to Prime Minister David Cameron’s government that the five militants would be tried in the U.S. federal court system, and they would not face a potential sentence of capital punishment.

Three of the five to whom the European court ruling on Tuesday applied – Abu Hamza, Khalid al Fawwaz and Adel Bary -have all been under indictment for years in the U.S. Southern District of New York.

Law enforcement officials said that prosecutors, whose courtrooms are only blocks from the site of the World Trade Center towers downed in 2011, are prepared to try the cases if the suspects finally are extradited from Britain.

The officials noted that several notorious militants, including Ramzi Yousef, alleged mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, were prosecuted and convicted in the same courts and are now serving lengthy U.S. prison terms.

Some are being held in ultra-secure “Supermax” prisons where the European court said U.S. authorities might be entitled to jail the five extradition subjects if they are convicted.

But for political, as well as other reasons, civilian trials for alleged militants lately have been the exception rather than the rule in high-profile counter-terrorism cases.

Tuesday’s European court action appears unlikely to permanently change that – or alter President Barack Obama’s preferred approach in fighting militants, which centers on clandestine operations and lethal drone strikes.

Indeed, just last week, the Pentagon announced that the accused Sept. 11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and a handful suspected co-conspirators will be tried before a U.S. military tribunal at Guantanamo, and could face the death penalty.

1998 U.S. EMBASSY BOMBINGS

The extradition cases demonstrate how what President George W. Bush once called the “global war on terrorism” has evolved in the years since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

In fact, the cases of all the men whose extraditions the European court approved have their roots in events that took place before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Two of them, Fawwaz, a Saudi citizen, and Bary, an Egyptian, face charges in connection with 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, a case which also included the first U.S. criminal charges against Osama bin Laden. At the time of the embassy attacks, Fawwaz was alleged by investigators to be acting as one of bin Laden’s principal Western spokesmen.

The charges against the best known of the five – a former London-based preacher known as Abu Hamza – also date back before 2001. The Justice Department alleges that he was involved in a conspiracy to take hostages in connection with a 1998 attack in Yemen in which four hostages died, and also claims Abu Hamza was involved in a scheme to set up a training camp for militants in Bly, Oregon, in 1999 and 2000.

Once evidence began to accumulate after the Sept. 11 attacks, – some of it in the form of Abu Hamza’s public behavior – he was connected to Zacarias Moussaoui, a French militant linked to some of the Sept. 11 suspects, and Richard Reid, a British militant who tried to attack a U.S.-bound airliner with a bomb hidden in his shoe.

Under U.S. pressure, Abu Hamza, who has a hook for one of his hands which he said was blown off in Afghanistan, was eventually driven out of his pulpit at the Finsbury Park mosque in North London. U.S. authorities did not file charges against him until 2004.

The two other suspects whose extradition was given a green light both face trial in federal court in Connecticut for offenses that also pre-dated the Sept. 11 attacks.

Babar Ahmad and Syed Ahsan are accused by U.S. authorities of operating pro-al Qaeda websites from 1997 to 2004, and also of being in contact with a sympathetic U.S. serviceman.

All five suspects were detained in Britain for years without trial. The case of Ahmad, detained for seven years, became a cause celebre for human rights activists and some British members of Parliament.

From the point of view of U.S. counter-terrorism officials the cases surrounding the five are too dated to be relevant to their current efforts.

Still, the Obama administration would undoubtedly like to use any U.S. trials of the extradited subjects to showcase the openness and equities of the U.S. legal system.

The cutting edge of the Obama administration’s counter-terrorism policies, however, is not the criminal justice system, but the use of clandestine operations, and particularly expanding drone warfare campaigns, against militants in suspected sanctuaries in Pakistan and Yemen.

Even smooth extraditions and U.S. trials of the suspects held in London are unlikely to alter that policy.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK) here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


European court OKs extradition to U.S. of five terrorism suspects

April 10, 2012
Gary McKinnon
“Photo: Radical cleric Abu Hamza Masri, whom the U.S. wants extradited from Britain to face terrorism-related charges, preaches outside a London mosque in February 2003. Credit: Agence France-Presse”

Los Angeles Times on April 10, 2012 released the following:

“REPORTING FROM LONDON — A fiery Muslim cleric who celebrated the Sept. 11 attacks in sermons and allegedly tried to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon can be extradited to the United States from Britain, the European Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday.

The court said Abu Hamza Masri and four other terrorism suspects could be sent to face trial in the U.S. without fear that they would face “inhuman and degrading” conditions in a maximum-security prison if convicted. The men had argued that they could be subject to solitary confinement for the rest of their lives in a so-called “supermax” prison in Colorado where many terrorism convicts are serving time.

The case is considered an important one for U.S.-Europe relations, because a ruling against extradition would have been tantamount to a denunciation of the American judicial and corrections system and could have dealt a blow to anti-terrorism cooperation across the Atlantic.

The five men will not be immediately deported, however, despite the British government’s pledge to “ensure that the suspects are handed over to the U.S. authorities as quickly as possible.” The suspects have three months to appeal the decision to the European court’s Grand Chamber, but such appeals are rarely taken up.

The Egyptian-born Masri, the most prominent of the five men, shot to notoriety here in Britain as the imam of a North London mosque who preached sermons extolling the Sept. 11 attacks, demanding the stoning of gay people and calling for the death of nonbelievers. He is currently serving a seven-year sentence in a British prison for inciting murder and racial hatred.

U.S. authorities want Masri extradited to face allegations that he tried to set up a training camp in Bly, Ore., for would-be insurgents in Afghanistan and that he was involved in the kidnapping of a group of Western tourists in Yemen in 1998. Three Britons and an Australian were killed when Yemeni security forces stormed the place where the hostages were being held.

The other suspects covered by Tuesday’s European court ruling include one of Masri’s alleged conspirators in trying to establish the Oregon terrorist training camp and two men accused of involvement in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

The European court, based in Strasbourg, France, rejected the men’s contention that their human rights would be violated if they were sent to the Administrative Maximum, or ADX, facility in Florence, Colo.

“If the applicants were convicted as charged, the U.S. authorities would be justified in considering them a significant security risk and in imposing strict limitations on their ability to communicate with the outside world,” the seven judges ruled.

In addition, inmates at ADX Florence, “although confined to their cells for the vast majority of the time,” are given access to “services and activities (television, radio, newspapers, books, hobby and craft items, telephone calls, social visits, correspondence with families, group prayer)” that go beyond what most prisons in Europe provide, the judges noted.

A sixth suspect was not included in the ruling because the court wants more information on his mental health.

— Henry Chu”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.