News / USA

Extradited Terror Suspects Appear in US Court

Muslim cleric, Abu Hamza al-Masri, leads prayers at the North London Central Mosque in Finsbury Park, February 7, 2003.Muslim cleric, Abu Hamza al-Masri, leads prayers at the North London Central Mosque in Finsbury Park, February 7, 2003.
Muslim cleric, Abu Hamza al-Masri, leads prayers at the North London Central Mosque in Finsbury Park, February 7, 2003.
Muslim cleric, Abu Hamza al-Masri, leads prayers at the North London Central Mosque in Finsbury Park, February 7, 2003.
VOA News

Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri and four other terrorism suspects who fought for years to avoid facing charges in the United States appeared in U.S. courts Saturday, hours after being extradited from Britain.

Hamza faces charges that include conspiring to set up a terrorist training camp in the northwestern U.S. state of Oregon and facilitating violent jihad in Afghanistan. The Egyptian-born former imam also is accused of helping abduct 16 Western tourists in Yemen in 1998 - an incident that saw four of the hostages killed.

Hamza was informed of the charges against him in federal court in New York Saturday, but will not be formally arraigned until Tuesday. Also appearing in the New York court Saturday were Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled al-Fawwaz, who pleaded not guilty to charges they were involved in the deadly 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. 

Two more defendants, Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan, pleaded not guilty Saturday in a federal court in New Haven, Connecticut to charges they supported terrorists through websites they ran. They are accused of providing terrorists with cash, recruits and equipment.

U.S. attorney Preet Bharara called the extraditions "a watershed moment" in the nation's efforts to eradicate terrorism.

All five of the British citizens arrived in the United States early Saturday. The men were flown to the United States after the British High Court rejected their last-minute appeals. They had raised legal questions about human rights and prison conditions they expected to face in the United States.  In rejecting the appeals, the British court cited an "overwhelming public interest" in seeing the extraditions carried out. 

Ahmad's father, Ashfaq Ahmad, was among a group of protesters gathered outside the court Friday. He made a speech saying his son's extradition would be "forever remembered as a shameful chapter in the history of Britain." 

"The system has let me down in a manner more befitting of a third world country than one of the world's oldest democracies," he said. 

Ashfaq Ahmad also told reporters that while he now fears for his son's well-being, the final ruling came as no surprise.

Both British and European courts had earlier ruled in favor of the extraditions, triggering the appeals that were rejected Friday.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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Comment Sorting
by: G.O. from: CN
October 06, 2012 9:44 AM
"he now fears for his son's well-being"

If the father of this terrorist knows how the families of those his son killed feel, he would readily feed him to a lion rather than fear for his well-being in prison. Britain let you down, huh? Try some other countries and see if they would not let you into hell.

by: remie from: canada
October 06, 2012 7:37 AM
Its funny and ironic how terrorist or support of terror cry for human rights when that is the least they care about when they plot and carry out their crimes.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 06, 2012 7:15 AM
What is more shameful, that Ashfaq Ahmad's son is a notorious terrorist, or that Britain followed the part of justice to ensure that these inhuman elements of society find no hiding place? Ashfaq Ahmad should be arrested and tried for support to terrorists and to find out more about his involvement in terror plans elsewhere - he maybe a link to cracking the terror headache in Europe and America. Kudos should go the British justice system for its bravery in making sure that the new world order is such as no terrorist should be safe anywhere in the world. Other countries of the world should follow this good example of exposing evil everywhere, whether directly affected or not, in so far as human life and well being are affected.
In Response

by: Zainab from: Nigeria
October 07, 2012 5:11 AM
well the question is are these people really guilty? lets not forget that all that happened in Iraq turned out it be a M I S T A K E

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