Skip to main content

Judges to rule on Abu Hamza al-Masri's extradition to face U.S. terror charges

By Andrew Carey, CNN
updated 8:31 PM EDT, Thu October 4, 2012
Lawyers for radical Islamist cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri say his mental health is failing.
Lawyers for radical Islamist cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri say his mental health is failing.
  • Lawyers for radical Islamist cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri say his mental health is failing
  • Four other men are also fighting extradition to the United States on terror charges
  • U.S. and British government lawyers contested the arguments put forward
  • This week's hearing was the final stage in a long-running legal battle

London (CNN) -- Two senior British judges are due to decide on Friday if five men, among them extremist Islamist cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, will be extradited to the United States to face terrorism charges.

The decision, which cannot be appealed, should bring to an end a legal process that in the case of two of the five men -- Khaled al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary -- has lasted 14 years.

Read more: BBC apologizes to Queen Elizabeth over Abu Hamza revelation

Thursday saw the third and final day of submissions as lawyers for the five men sought to persuade the two judges to stay the extradition, which has already been approved by British courts, the European Court of Human Rights and Britain's home secretary.

Extradition for Abu Hamza?

Lawyers for al-Masri -- who is wanted on charges relating to a multiple hostage-taking in Yemen, as well as alleged efforts to set up a terror training camp in Oregon -- told the court their client suffers from deteriorating mental health and is unfit to plead. He faces a potential life sentence if convicted.

Read more: Court clears way for cleric Abu Hamza's extradition

Al-Masri is one of the highest-profile radical Islamic figures in Britain, where he was already sentenced to seven years for inciting racial hatred at his north London mosque and other terrorism-related charges.

Al-Fawwaz and Bary are accused of being al Qaeda associates of Osama bin Laden in London during the 1990s.

Lawyers for al-Fawwaz presented evidence, including some arising from an interview by British intelligence officers with an al Qaeda informer, which they say discredits the case against him.

Read more: Abu Hamza extradition ruling marks end of era for radical cleric

Presenting medical reports, lawyers for Bary said he had a deteriorating mental illness, making him unfit for detention in a high-security Supermax prison, where he is expected to be held if sent to the United States.

The cases of Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan are both linked to a website called, which U.S. prosecutors say was run by the two men and used to support terrorism around the world.

Lawyers for Ahmad and Ahsan presented what they said was fresh evidence to support their calls for the two men to be charged with similar terrorism-supporting offenses in Britain, rather than have them face trial in the United States.

The U.S. and British governments were also represented during the hearings and strongly contested the five suspects' submissions.

Lawyers for the British government described the arguments as an abuse of the legal process.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.