LONDON (AP) — Britain’s High Court ruled Friday afternoon to extradite radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri and four other terrorist suspects to the United States after years of legal wrangling.
Judges Duncan Ouseley and John Thomas handed down judgment in the case of al-Masri, who turned London’s Finsbury Park Mosque into a training ground for radical Islamists and is wanted in the US on charges that include helping set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon.
Al Masri and the four other men fought extradition for years, and both British and European courts have ruled that they can be sent to the US to face charges.
They applied to the High Court for a last-minute halt, with al-Masri’s lawyers saying his deteriorating physical and mental health means it would be “oppressive” to send him to a US prison.
Lawyers for the preacher, who has one eye and hooks in place of hands he claims to have lost fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, said he suffers from depression, chronic sleep deprivation, diabetes and other ailments and is in need of medical tests.
The Egyptian-born former nightclub bouncer, al-Masri used north London’s Finsbury Park Mosque as a base to persuade young Muslims to take up the cause of holy war. The mosque was once attended by Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and “shoe bomber” Richard Reid.