Mr. Mustafa earned the alliterative soubriquet “Hooky Hamza” after he lost both his hands in an — ahem — employment-related accident while visiting Afghanistan. After moving to Britain, he preached for years at the Finsbury Park Mosque. His well-known face and bellicose statements appeared almost daily in the tabloid press.
Hooky is wanted in the USA for conspiring to take hostages in Yemen, but the ECHR put his extradition on hold while the court considered whether turning him over to the Great Satan might violate his human rights. Today the ECHR made its decision, and Britain will be allowed to send the Hook across the Atlantic to face American justice.
As an aside, for those Britons who might think that that United Kingdom is a still a sovereign state: it isn’t. One of the most fundamental prerogatives of a sovereign state is to decide who is and is not allowed to reside in it. Britain has been denied that right. Westminster had to wait for permission from the EU before it could eject Hooky Hamza.
British sovereignty is no more than a memory.
Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for uploading this report from Sky News:
Here’s what the BBC had to say:
Abu Hamza US Extradition Backed by European Court
The European Court of Human Rights has backed the extradition of Abu Hamza and four other terror suspects from the UK to the US.
The Strasbourg court held there would be no violation of human rights for those facing life and solitary confinement in a “supermax” prison.
Judges said they would consider further the case of another suspect because of mental health issues.
Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “very pleased” with the news.
“It’s quite right that we have a proper legal process, although sometimes you can be frustrated by how long things take,” he added.
The court’s decision is one of its most important since 9/11 because it approves of human rights in US maximum security prisons, making it easier for the UK to send suspects to its closest ally.
There could still hypothetically be an appeal against the court’s ruling in its final Grand Chamber — but in practice, very few cases are re-examined in that final forum.
Home Secretary Theresa May said: “I welcome the decision of the European Court of Human Rights to allow the extradition of Abu Hamza and other terror suspects.
“In five of the six cases, the Court found that extradition would not breach their human rights and in the remaining case, it asked for further information before taking a final decision.
“I will work to ensure that the suspects are handed over to the US authorities as quickly as possible.”
The European Court said there would be no breach of human rights if the men were to be held in solitary confinement at ADX Florence, a Federal Supermax jail in Colorado, used for people convicted of terrorism offences.
Abu Hamza is unlikely to be held at that jail because of his disabilities. The court also held that the life sentences each man faces would not breach human rights.
But in one case, Haroon Aswat, judges said they could not yet give the go-ahead to extradition because they needed to see more submissions on his schizophrenia and how that would be treated were he sent to the US.
The Telegraph provides a detailed timeline of Hooky’s lurid history:
Key Events in Battle to Extradite Abu Hamza
Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza has lost his fight over extradition to the United States. Here is a timeline of key events in his case:
- Hamza, who was born Mustafa Kamel Mustafa in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1958, came to the UK to study in the early 1980s.
- He met and married an English woman, Valerie Fleming, and received British citizenship, but the couple divorced years later.
- He suffered injuries to his hands and eye in Afghanistan, where he travelled to fight a “jihad” against Soviet occupation.
- On his return to the UK, Hamza started preaching radical anti-Western sermons at the Finsbury Park Mosque, in north London.
- Following the attacks on September 11 2001, Hamza’s comments in support of Osama Bin Laden sparked outrage.
- In April 2002, he was formally suspended by the Charity Commission from his position at the mosque, over his inflammatory speeches.
- On September 11 2002, Hamza spoke at a controversial conference at the mosque titled A Towering Day in History.
- In January 2003, armed police arrested seven people at the mosque in a dawn raid. A stun gun, replica firearms and CS gas canisters were among the items seized.
- In February 2003, Hamza again caused outrage when he described the Colombia space shuttle, which contained Christians, Hindus and a Jewish person, as a “trinity of evil” and said its destruction was a punishment from Allah.
- In April 2003, then-home secretary David Blunkett announced new laws allowing British citizenship to be removed from immigrants who “seriously prejudice” the UK’s interests. Legal moves began to get Hamza deported to Yemen.
- Two weeks later, his lawyers announced he would appeal against the move.
- In May 2004, Hamza was arrested on a US extradition warrant. The US want him on charges of conspiring to take Western hostages in Yemen, funding terrorism, and organising a terrorist training camp in Oregon between 1998 and 2000.
- In October 2004, he was charged with 15 offences under the Terrorism Act, including incitement to murder and possession of a terrorism document, temporarily staying the US extradition process.
- On February 7 2006, Hamza was jailed for seven years after being found guilty on 11 of 15 charges.
- In July that year, he was given the go-ahead to challenge the convictions for incitement to murder and race hate offences.
- In November 2006, the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal against the conviction.
- In May 2007, a preliminary extradition hearing took place in London.
- This was followed, in July 2007, by a hearing where Hamza spoke by video link to fight the extradition.
- In November 2007, a judge at London’s City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled that Hamza had lost his legal arguments against his long-running extradition battle. Senior District Judge Timothy Workman sent the matter to the Home Secretary to make a final decision.
- On February 7 2008, then-home secretary Jacqui Smith signed an extradition order, meaning Hamza would be handed over to US authorities within 28 days if he did not appeal.
- But Hamza appealed, delaying moves to extradite him. He later lost his bid to avoid extradition on June 20 2008, when two High Court judges ruled that the decision was “unassailable”.
- On July 23 2008, he was also refused permission to appeal to the House of Lords when senior judge Sir Igor Judge refused to certify that his case raised a point of law of such public importance to go before the highest court in the land.
- On August 4 2008, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that Hamza should not be extradited until judges could examine his case. The Home Office said it would abide by the court’s request.
- On January 18 2010, Hamza launched another legal fight to hang on to his British passport.
- On February 9 2010, legal aid bosses seized Hamza’s house in Greenford, west London, to pay off his legal bills, despite the radical preacher claiming it did not belong to him. Officials hoped to raise £280,000 from the sale.
- On November 5 2010, Hamza won his appeal against the Government’s attempts to strip him of his British passport. The move would have rendered him “stateless” as he had already been stripped of his Egyptian citizenship, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) ruled.
- On April 10 2012, Europe’s human rights judges ruled that Hamza, along with four other terror suspects, would not be subject to “ill-treatment” in America and their extradition was lawful.
And The Spectator explains the significance of the ECHR’s decision:
What Today’s Abu Hamza Ruling Means
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that five terror suspects, including notorious Islamist cleric Abu Hamza, can be deported to the United States — a decision welcomed by both David Cameron and Theresa May. Last year, Hamza and three of the other men appealed to the ECtHR against extradition to the US on a whole host of grounds — including that they might face the death penalty and that their trials would be prejudiced. The Court found almost of all their grounds inadmissible, but allowed the appeal to proceed on two grounds: that they would be held in the ADX Florence ‘super-max’ prison and would face extremely long sentences — both of which they claimed would contravene Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that ‘No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.’
In its judgement today, the Court found that the conditions at the super-max prison would not be so bad as to constitute torture or degrading treatment, and that — as Isabel McArdle at the excellent UK Human Rights Blog puts it — ‘given the seriousness of the criminal allegations against the applicants in question, and the fact that aggravating and mitigating circumstances would be taken into account by the sentencing judge, the sentences would not be grossly disproportionate’. This means that the five men will likely soon be deported. They do have three months to launch an appeal, but — as Joshua Rozenberg points out — the fact that the judges reached a unanimous decision without feeling the need for an oral hearing makes the chance that a request for appeal will be accepted slim. And the wider implications of the ruling? McArdle calls it ‘a very important victory for the UK government, coming at a time of increased public unease about deportation and extradition law’. Perhaps it will also go some way towards correcting the caricature many have propagated in this country of the European Court of Human Rights as a court that always sides with terrorists against our government.
My take on what Abu Hamza ruling means is somewhat different.
Whether or not their idea of the ECHR has been corrected and is no longer a “caricature”, British subjects now know that the European Union has officially usurped the sovereignty of the United Kingdom without their consent, and with the acquiescence of their elected representatives.
Hat tips: JP, ICLA.