Abu Hamza appears in US court over terror charges
Abu Hazma and four other terror suspects, Khaled al-Fawwaz, Abel Abdul Bary, Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan, appeared in US court rooms on Saturday following extradition from the United Kingdom. Hazma appeared in a New York court with two out of the four others facing terror related charges.
The men were deported on Friday night from the military airbase in Mildenhall, Suffolk, once the high court declined their ultimate appeals to remain in the UK.
The radical Islamic preacher Hamza wore blue prison clothing and appeared without his trademark prosthetic hook hand as he appeared in front of Judge Frank Maas. His lawyer Sabrina Shroff asked for his hook to be returned as “otherwise he will not be able to function in a civilized manner,” she said, after which the judge permitted Hazma his hook.
Hamza listened to a list of 11 terror related charges against him that included kidnap, conspiracy to establish a terrorist training camp, supplying the Taliban and calling for holy war in Afghanistan. Hamza spoke only once in the court room.
There has been widespread relief at the British justice system’s condemnation of Hazma. British Prime Minister David Cameron stated that “like the rest of the public I’m sick to the back teeth of people who come here, threaten our country, who stay at vast expense to the taxpayer and we can’t get rid of them. I’m delighted on this occasion we’ve managed to send this person off to a country where he will face justice.” Following this case, the government will consider ways of stopping similar cases occurring in the future.
Hazma was imprisoned in the UK for seven years for soliciting murder and has been fighting deportation since 2004. On this occasion, lawyers opposed his extradition because of problems with memory and depression, claiming that he was too fragile to travel. However, after three days of legal argument, the injunctions that had prevented the men from deportation were lifted.
It was a long awaited conclusion for the British public after an eight year legal battle between British and European courts that has strained relationships on both sides.
Hazma will be in court again for a pre-trial hearing in New York on Tuesday.