LONDON (AP) — A European court is clearing the way for a radical Muslim cleric to be extradited to the United States to face terrorism charges.
Abu Hamza al-Masri (AH'-boo HAHM'-zuh ahl MAHZ'-ree), who is considered one of Britain's most notorious extremists, could be deported within weeks.
He and four other terror suspects in Britain had argued that they could face conditions and jail terms in the U.S. that would subject them to torture and other punishment banned by the European human rights code. In April, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, rejected those claims. Al-Masri and the others lodged an appeal, but the court today refused to hear it.
Britain's Home Office and the U.S. Justice Department welcomed the decision. The British say they will try to send the suspects to the United States "as quickly as possible."
Al-Masri was arrested in Britain in 2004 at the request of U.S. authorities, who accuse him of helping to take 16 hostages in Yemen in 1998 and conspiring to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon between 2000 and 2001.
The cleric, who is blind in one eye and wears a hook for a hand, is known for his fiery anti-Western and anti-Semitic outbursts.
GRAPHICSBANK: Abu Hamza al-Masri headshot, Egyptian-born radical muslim cleric, London, England, over US and British flags, partial graphic (24 Sep 2012)
APPHOTO LON109: FILE - This is a Friday, April 30, 2004. file photo of Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, as he arrives with a masked bodyguard, right, to conduct Friday prayers in the street outside the closed Finsbury Park Mosque in London, Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has lost a court appeal to be extradited to the United States to face terrorism charges, including allegedly trying to set up an al-Qaida training camp in rural Oregon, officials said Monday Sept. 24, 2012 . The European Court of Human Rights gave its final approval for the cleric's extradition Monday, ending a long-running legal battle. The decision means that al-Masri, considered one of Britain's most notorious extremists, could be deported within weeks. (AP Photo/Max Nash, File ) (30 Apr 2004)
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