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Terrorism suspect awaiting U.S. extradition papers, lawyers say

By Andrew Carey, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Lawyers for terrorism suspect say they are still waiting for U.S. extradition papers
  • Pakistani national Abid Naseer is wanted on suspicion of terrorism offenses
  • He was arrested in Britain in July after Washington requested his extradition
  • Washington has until September 9 to file the request
RELATED TOPICS
  • Terrorism
  • Al Qaeda
  • Torture

London, England (CNN) -- Lawyers acting for Abid Naseer, wanted in the United States on suspicion of terrorism offenses, said Wednesday they are still waiting for the U.S. government to file formal papers seeking his extradition.

They made the disclosure to reporters outside the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, where Naseer had appeared by video-link from a high-security prison for a brief preliminary hearing.

British police arrested Naseer in July after the United States requested his extradition to face charges of supporting terrorists and plotting to use a destructive device, London's Metropolitan Police Service said last month.

Under the terms of the extradition agreement between the United States and Britain, Washington has until September 9 to file the papers.

Naseer, a Pakistani national, has been in and out of the British court system for more than a year.

He was first arrested in April 2009 in Manchester, England, where he had been living on a student visa. That arrest was part of a massive sweep across northwest England in connection with an alleged plot to carry out bomb attacks in Britain.

No one was charged in connection with those allegations, though a panel of judges hearing a subsequent deportation attempt against Naseer said it was satisfied he was an "an al Qaeda operative who posed and still poses a serious threat to [the United Kingdom's] national security."

In May, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission ruled that Naseer faced a risk of being tortured if he were sent back to Pakistan and blocked his deportation on European human rights grounds.

The commission said it was convinced Naseer had sent coded e-mails to an al Qaeda contact in which he used girls' names in place of explosive ingredients and a made-up wedding date for the date of the attack. It relied partly on secret evidence in making its decision.

The commission, however, said it had seen no evidence that the men had handled explosives.

During Wednesday's hearing, Naseer was remanded into custody before the next preliminary hearing, scheduled for September 8.

Once extradition papers are filed, a lengthy process can begin in which a district judge and then the British home secretary rules on whether the extradition should be allowed to go ahead.