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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007, 13:14 GMT
Abu Hamza could face extradition
Abu Hamza
The home secretary will have the final say on the extradition
The Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri can be extradited to the US to face terrorism charges, a court has ruled.

The Egyptian-born preacher is currently serving a seven-year jail term in the UK for inciting murder and race hate.

The 49-year-old from west London is wanted by the American authorities on 11 charges.

City of Westminster Magistrates Court approved the extradition, but the decision has to be ratified by the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith.

Senior District Judge Timothy Workman ruled that Abu Hamza, who preached at Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, had lost his legal arguments.

The judge said he would send the matter to the Secretary of State for a decision on whether the former civil engineering student should be extradited.


The US government wants to put Abu Hamza on trial on 11 charges, alleging he funded terrorism, organised a "terrorist training camp" in Oregon between 1998 and 2000, and conspired to take 12 Westerners hostage in Yemen in 1998.

An earlier extradition hearing was told the hostages, which included two Americans, were abducted partly to gain the release of Abu Hamza's stepson, Mohsen Ghailan, and five others.

It is alleged Abu Hamza - who is missing an eye and hand - gave advice to the hostage-takers and provided them with a satellite phone.

Four of the captives - Britons Margaret Whitehouse, 52, a teacher from Hampshire; Ruth Williamson, 34, an NHS employee from Edinburgh; university lecturer Peter Rowe, 60, from Durham; and an Australian national, Andrew Thirsk - were killed after Yemeni authorities tried to rescue them.

Abu Hamza
Abu Hamza preaching outside London's Finsbury Park Mosque

The American charges carry a potential jail sentence of 100 years.

Abu Hamza's lawyers claim US evidence had been gained through torture. But prosecutors say phone records and the cleric's own admissions would be used at any trial.

Defending Abu Hamza, Alun Jones QC announced he would be urging the home office and the Attorney General to prosecute the case in the UK.

House of Lords

Abu Hamza was convicted in February 2006 of 11 of the 15 charges he faced in the UK.

In addition to being jailed for soliciting murder, he was also found guilty of inciting racial hatred, possessing "threatening, abusive or insulting recordings" and for having a document useful to terrorists.

He was arrested on an extradition warrant issued by the US government in May 2004 but the process was put on hold while he stood trial in Britain and attempted to appeal against his UK convictions.

A decision by the House of Lords in January this year to refuse him leave to make a further appeal against his convictions left the path clear for the present proceedings.

Once tried in the US, Abu Hamza would have to return to the UK to complete his jail term before being extradited if any sentence was handed down to him by an American court.

Abu Hamza preaching in London

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