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Britain Extradites Terror Suspect to US

  • VOA News

FILE - Gareth Peirce, a human rights lawyer in the defense team for British al-Qaida suspect Haroon Rashid Aswat, speaks to the media outside Bow Street magistrates court in London.

FILE - Gareth Peirce, a human rights lawyer in the defense team for British al-Qaida suspect Haroon Rashid Aswat, speaks to the media outside Bow Street magistrates court in London.

Britain has extradited a terror suspect wanted in the United States in connection with alleged efforts to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon 15 years ago.

London police said Haroon Rashid Aswat was escorted Tuesday from a psychiatric hospital in West London to an awaiting U.S. plane. Hours later, U.S. prosecutors announced his arrival in New York.

Aswat, in British custody since 2005, is accused of conspiring with convicted radical cleric Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, known widely as Abu Hamza al-Masri, to set up the training camp in a rural area of Oregon.

Aswat has been fighting extradition since his arrest. His extradition was delayed last year when the European Court of Human Rights said the suspect — confined to a high security British psychiatric hospital in 2008 — should not be sent abroad because of mental health problems.

However, last month two British high court judges cleared the way for the extradition, saying they were satisfied with assurances from U.S. authorities that Aswat would receive proper care.

In 2009, a U.S. federal jury found co-defendant Ouassama Kassir guilty of charges related to the planned training camp, including the operation of several terrorist websites. He was sentenced to life in prison.

A separate U.S. jury found defendant Abu Hamza guilty of his role in the conspiracy, and for his role in a 1998 hostage taking incident in Yemen that resulted in four deaths. He is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2015.

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