UK judges agree to extradite suspected terrorist in U.S. jihad camp case

Haroon Rashid Aswat, seen in this 2005 file photo, will be extradited to the U.S. in connection with a jihad training camp.

Story highlights

  • Court gives Haroon Rashid Aswat's legal team time to appeal the extradition
  • He is among suspects in a U.S. jihad training camp case
  • The case dates back to 1999
  • Radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri is among his alleged co-conspirators

Britain's Royal Courts of Justice agreed Thursday to send to the United States a man accused of helping organize a jihad training camp in Oregon.

His legal team has been given time to appeal the extradition to the UK's Supreme Court.

Haroon Rashid Aswat is wanted in a case dating back to 1999.

Aswat, a British national, was arrested in Zambia in 2005 and sent to Britain, where he has fought extradition for years. His attorneys raised concerns about his mental health, according to British media reports.

In a federal criminal complaint, prosecutors said Aswat participated in efforts to build the camp in Bly, Oregon, in 1999 and 2000.

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The camp "would be a place that Muslims could attend to receive various types of training, including military-style jihad training, in preparation for a community of Muslims to make 'hijrah' (to immigrate) to Afghanistan," the criminal complaint stated. "Once in Afghanistan, the men in the community would have gained enough familiarity with weapons at the Bly training camp to fight jihad in Afghanistan."

"As it was used by the conspirators in this case, the term 'jihad' meant defending Islam against its enemies through violence and armed aggression, including killing the enemies of Islam, if necessary, in order to expel non-believers from holy Muslim lands," the U.S. Justice Department said in a 2007 statement on the case.

    Among his co-conspirators is radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, prosecutors say.

    "We are pleased the court has upheld the Home Secretary's decision to extradite Haroon Aswat to the United States," Britain's Home Office said. "The court agreed that the American authorities had provided sufficient assurances over the conditions in which Aswat would be held in the U.S."

    In 2005, British authorities suspected Aswat of involvement in bombings on London Underground trains that killed 52 people. But he was not charged in that case.

    Background on Aswat