As it happened: Abu Hamza extradition ruling

Key Points

  • After a legal battle covering several years in each case, five suspected terrorists, including radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, will be extradited to the US, UK judges have ruled
  • The other men being sent to the US are Babar Ahmad, Syed Talha Ahsan, Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled al-Fawwaz, in cases that are not linked to Abu Hamza's
  • In their ruling, the judges said there was no further avenue of appeal open to the five men. The Home Office said it was working to "extradite these men as quickly as possible"

    Good afternoon and welcome to our live coverage of the High Court's verdict on whether the extradition to the US of Abu Hamza al-Masri and four other men should go ahead.


    We'll bring you all the updates and reaction to the news, which is expected at any minute.


    The BBC's Danny Shaw, who is awaiting the judgement in court, says the public benches and gallery are full with many people appearing to be supporters of the five.


    The judgement is being read out now, our correspondents say.


    The judge will read a summary of the ruling, then the full judgement.


    What is known about the five men facing extradition and what are they accused of? Read our profiles here.


    The judge is currently going through a brief history of the men's cases.

    Barbar Ahmad's supporters

    There have been three separate protests outside the High Court. Here are some Babar Ahmad's supporters pictured this morning


    "There is an overwhelming public interest in the functioning of the extradition system," judge tells the court.


    "There is a need for finality. There is no appeal from our decision," court told

    Protester outside the High Court for the Abu Hama extradition hearing

    Other protesters want to see Abu Hamza extradited to the US. This man outside the High Court told a BBC correspondent he was the "the silent majority".


    The case of Abu Hamza will be dealt with fourth. Khaled al-Fawwaz, accused of being an aide to Osama Bin Laden in London, is the first case.

    1451: Breaking News

    Abu Hamza al-Masri has failed in his last-ditch bid to halt his extradition from the UK to the US to stand trial on terrorism charges.


    The judge said he was totally unconvinced that Abu Hamza was unfit to stand trial.


    Judges have also refused to stop the extradition of Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled Al Fawaaz.


    Applications by Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan have also been dismissed.


    The judges say there can be no more appeals.


    The BBC's Dominic Casciani says that moves are in place to allow the extraditions to take place immediately.

    Abu Hamza

    Here is radical cleric Abu Hamza, who has been held at Belmarsh prison for eight years and will now be sent to the US, pictured in April 2003.


    To summarise: All five terrorism suspects have lost their appeals and can all be extradited immediately to the US.

    Michael Wright in Chelmsford

    emails: This case has shown the UK legal system to be not fit for purpose. The only people to benefit from these long drawn out cases are the lawyers who pick up their fees every hour. Eight years! How can any reasonably efficient system take eight years to debate the evidence?

    Josey Marin in London

    emails: Let that be an end to it, with the exception that their families and friends should go with them to keep them company.


    The BBC's Dominic Casciani says it can take two weeks to organise an extradition, with arrangements made in the receiving country, but the BBC understands these are in place so it is just a logistical matter of getting the men on a flight to the US.


    Abu Hamza's extradition marks the "end of an era", the BBC's Frank Gardner says. Read how he came to encapsulate Britain's battle against al-Qaeda-inspired extremism here.


    Sir John Thomas, president of the Queen's Bench Division, sitting with Mr Justice Ouseley, said this would be the men's final legal attempt.

    Bryn Roberts in Richmond, Yorkshire

    emails: Excellent news. The justice system may take some time, but it gets there in the end. Now, let's hope there's a plane fuelled and waiting to take them this afternoon.

    James Swain

    emails: Put him on a plane NOW. I hope he is already on his way to an airfield.


    The judgement is now available to read online in full, follow this link.


    All five cases had returned to the High Court after judges at the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene and stop the home secretary extraditing them. Between 1999 and 2006, the men were indicted on various terrorism charges in America.


    It has taken the UK government eight years to extradite Abu Hamza to the US.

    1505: Breaking News

    In a statement which he prepared in prison before the verdict, Babar Ahmad said he wanted to thank all the people who had supported him and his family. "By exposing the fallacy of the UK's extradition arrangements with the US, I leave with my head held high having won the moral victory," he said.

    Jenifer in Forfar

    emails: This has gone on far too long. Let this be an end to it. I have never understood why any person would fight to stay in a country that they have no respect for.

    Claire Godridge

    tweets: fantastic news about abu hamza and the other 4!! british courts need to start being firmer and stop being a laughing stock.


    Some of the men are currently being held in Long Lartin prison, in Worcestershire. The BBC's Ben Ando said they would be taken from custody by the Met Police's extradition unit to aircraft, where the US will take over responsibility.

    1508: Breaking News

    The Home Office said it welcomed the High Court's decision. "We are now working to extradite these men as quickly as possible," a spokesman said.


    The judges said they were not bound by the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, "but we see no reason to disregard their judgement on prison conditions".


    Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled Al-Fawwaz were indicted - with Osama bin Laden and 20 others - for their alleged involvement in, or support for, the bombing of US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998. Mr Al-Fawwaz faces more than 269 counts of murder in the US.


    tweets: A miscarriage of justice today with the extradition of Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan to the USA. Such sad news :(


    Sir John Thomas said there was "overwhelming public interest" in the proper functioning of extradition arrangements. "It is also in the interest of justice that those accused of very serious crimes, as each of these claimants is in these proceedings, are tried as quickly as possible as is consistent with the interests of justice," Sir John said.


    The judge added: "It is unacceptable that extradition proceedings should take more than a relatively short time, to be measured in months not years. It is not just to anyone that proceedings such as these should last between 14 and eight years."


    Babar Ahmad's father Ashfaq said outside the Hogh Court: "After over 40 years of paying taxes in this country I am appalled that the system has let me down in a manner more befitting of a third world country than one of the world's oldest democracies."

    Ashfaq Ahmad

    Ashfaq Ahmad added: "We will never abandon our struggle for justice for Babar and the truth will eventually emerge of what will be forever remembered as a shameful chapter in the history of Britain."


    In dismissing the cases, Sir John told the court there could be no doubt that each man has, over the many years, "either taken or had the opportunity to take every conceivable point to prevent his extradition to the United States".


    tweets: And FINALLY! Good Bye Abu Hamza. London Judge: extradition "may proceed immediately." 8 ridiculous years but now he is GOING :))


    tweets: Feeling so sad and upset, especially for #BabarAhmad's family:(


    Explore our multimedia timeline to find out why it has taken so long to extradite Abu Hamza from the UK.


    tweets: Hamza has been demonised and dehumanised in the media and it clouds the public perception making them ignore Babar ahmad an talha ahsan

    Callum in Richmond, London

    emails: It has taken eight years to extradite these men. Now as a taxpayer I want to know the cost to us for this fiasco. The Government cannot allow this to happen ever again. It has gone on long enough.


    tweets: So long Hamza, justice denied for so long, shame on misguided supporters

    Susan Beech in Nantwich

    emails: Every democratic process has been ticked - but at what cost and to whom?


    Lawyers for Abu Hamza argued at a three-day hearing this week that his health was "deteriorating". His QC, Alun Jones, said his client was suffering from depression, a lack of concentration and failing memory, arguing that doctors were recommending an MRI scan to see if he was suffering from a degenerative brain condition.


    But James Eadie QC, appearing for the home secretary, argued that all the men's applications amounted to an abuse of process and could have been brought before the European Court.


    During the hearing, judge Sir John Thomas observed: "There are excellent medical facilities in the United States. If (Abu Hamza) is at risk of a degenerative condition, the sooner he is put on trial the better. I don't see how delay is in the interests of justice."

    Richard in Hailsham

    emails: Although it is good this case has finally been resolved, it has shown the sheer insanity of the Extradition Treaty that we have with the USA. For a start, the burden of proof we would have to provide is far greater than the USA has to provide us. Added to this, the US "justice" system has massive flaws within it that must be resolved if we are to send our citizens over there to face trial.

    Babar Ahmed for example would receive a disproportionately harsh sentence in an environment that would fail to maintain basic rights for a lot of prisoners. It pains me to say it, but I feel if this was a country with similar systems that was not the USA, he and the others would not be going.


    Who are Khaled al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary, the lesser-known men facing extradition? American investigators say the men, who face more serious charges than the others, provided vital leads to how al-Qaeda grew. Read this feature from the BBC's Steve Swann.


    If you are finding the process of extradition between the UK and US puzzling, read our explanation of how it works here.

    Ben Ando BBC News

    tweets: In this case they'll be handed over to US Marshalls for return to States under "alien transportation system" - commonly known as Con-Air


    tweets: I feel for Babar Ahmad's 78 year old father who has been working non stop on the campaign.


    tweets: Many will be glad to see the back of Abu Hamza. But #BabarAhmad and others case was complicated & complex. They deserved to be tried here


    Human rights group Liberty said it "beggars belief" that Babar Ahmad will not be tried in the UK, where his alleged offences took place. Emma Norton, legal officer said: "This is yet another example of the dangers of our flawed extradition arrangements. Isn't British justice - so admired around the world - capable of dealing with crimes committed in the UK by its own citizens?"

    Chris Bertrand

    emails: It may seem ludicrous that its taken so long but thank goodness we have a system so full of checks and balances. To defeat terrorism it's vital that we never behave like dictators or terrorists ourselves.

    Tony in Birmingham

    emails: Hopefully this will bring an end to this sorry chapter in our legal history. Would love to know how much this has cost the tax payer. But at least he will face proper justice in America and if guilty, a proper sentence - unlike here.

    1552: Breaking News

    The US Embassy said it was pleased the UK had approved the extraditions of the five men. A statement said: "These individuals are being transferred to the United States."


    The US Embassy's statement said the US government agreed with the European Court of Human Rights' findings that the conditions of US prisons did not violate European standards.


    "The law enforcement relationship between the US and UK is predicated on trust, respect, and the common goals of protecting our nations and eliminating safe havens for criminals, including terrorists," the US Embassy statement added.


    The extradition request for Khaled al-Fawwaz was submitted in 1998, while Adel Abdul Bary's was submitted in 1999, Abu Hamza's and Babar Ahmad's in 2004 and Syed Talha Ahsan's in 2006, the US Embassy added.


    tweets: Briton has showed today it has no spine, and like a good little dog we get a pat on the head from the states, shameful#BabarAhmad


    tweets: We failed as an ummah, in the UK, to protect the rights of our brothers #BabarAhmad #TalhaAhsan #AbuHamza #AdelBary#KhalidAlFawwaz


    The BBC understands two US civilian jets - one of which is registered to the US Department of Justice - are on the tarmac at an air base in eastern England.

    1608: Dominic Casciani Home affairs correspondent

    Abu Hamza's file has featured in the ministerial red box of six home secretaries. Theresa May is the first one able to move it to her out-tray. So why have these cases taken too long to resolve?

    1609: Grant in Dundee

    emails: The Americans know how to treat serious criminals. If found guilty these men will receive sentences which fit their crimes, unlike the slap on the wrist they would get here. It's only a pity we have allowed these men to exploit the system, at the UK citizens' expense.

    Abu Hamza

    Here's a recap on the men and the charges they face. Abu Hamza has already been convicted of soliciting to murder and stirring up racial hatred and jailed in the UK for seven years. He is accused in the US of a conspiracy to take hostages and hostage-taking in Yemen in 1998, in an incident that led to the death of four people.

    Babar Ahmad

    Computer expert Babar Ahmad, 37, who has been in jail without trial since 2004 while fighting extradition, is accused of being involved in a website which encouraged terrorism and which, while operated from London, was hosted in the US. His co-accused is Syed Talha Ahsan.

    Adel Abdul Bary

    Saudi Arabian-born Khaled al-Fawwaz and Egyptian Adel Abdul Bary (pictured) are accused of being key aides to Osama Bin Laden in London. They are accused of promoting violent jihad against the West and the massive indictment accuses them of playing a role in the 1998 US embassy bombings in East Africa, in which more than 200 people were killed and thousands injured.


    For more information on the men read our profiles here.


    Shadow justice secretary and Tooting MP Sadiq Khan said he expected both Mr Ahmad, his constituent, and Mr Ahsan to accept a plea deal when faced with the US justice system as "all the other British men extradited to the USA have done".


    Mr Khan explained that it was a "big risk" to plead not guilty. "My understanding is that the consequences of this include the threat of life in solitary confinement without parole, should they lose a trial."


    "If those are the stakes which pleading not guilty involve, then it is no wonder that over 97% of defendants accept a plea bargain - regardless of how confident or determined they are to stand trial," the MP added.


    Sir John Thomas has just finished reading his judgement after one hour and 45 minutes.

    Sam Townsend in London

    emails: Today Britain has proven yet again that it has one of the strongest and fairest judicial systems in the world. These men must face their trial against very serious charges in the US and the whole country is behind this decision by the courts.


    tweets: Glad to see the back of Abu Hamza but not sure why they're extraditing #BabarAhmad as his crime was committed on British soil....


    tweets: We (the UK) continue to prove we are slaves to the US #BabarAhmad#TalhaAhsan


    tweets: Really hoping that #BabarAhmed and #TalhaAhsan trend in the UK today. These guys are not the same as #AbuHamza. We should be appalled.

    Steven Swientozielskyj in Manchester

    emails: Justice has been done. We are too politically correct and it's taken far too long. Now there is a moral victory for common sense. Terrorist intent should be dealt with more aggressively than we have shown in this case.

    Dennis Lawrence in Essex

    emails: Whilst the argument for Babar Ahmad to face trial in this country is compelling, we should remember it is entirely beside the point. This case is simply about an extradition request made by the US. The website in question was hosted there, the extradition request is therefore legal and valid, so Mr Ahmad must be extradited according to the laws.


    The five men now face long periods of time in one of the "supermax" prisons in the US. But just how bad are conditions?


    tweets: #BabarAhmed #TalhaAhsan #AbuHamza. About time. Go and stand trial and if you're innocent,PROVE IT! if u cant do the time,dont do the crime!


    tweets: Glad that #AbuHamza is going to be extradited from the country he hates so much. in a way we're helping him.

    Syeda Ferdush

    tweets: Everyones talking about #AbuHamza, but what about the other 2 who are being extradited to US without being tried in UK?


    Lord Reid, who was Labour Home Secretary from 2006-2007, said he felt relief and satisfaction that this part of the judicial process had been completed. He said many people would recognise that Abu Hamza and others had used every conceivable part of the legal process in the UK and Europe.


    Lord Reid added: "I hope the home secretary will have a look at the process which has resulted in it taking 14 years, because there is no doubt there has been a degree of frustration."


    The Republican Congressman Pete King, who chairs the US Homeland Security Committee, welcomed the decision, which he said was long overdue. "I realise that the British system has its procedures and safeguards that have to be complied with. But the bottom line is that justice will now be done," he said.


    Businessman Karl Watkin, who failed in a bid to bring a private prosecution that would have seen Babar Ahmad tried in the UK, said he was "extremely frustrated but not at all surprised" by the judges' decision.


    Mr Watkin added: "No ifs, no buts - British citizens should be tried in Britain for crimes perpetrated in Britain and in circumstances where the evidence is found in Britain. Allowing the US to expand its extra-territorial reach by claiming jurisdiction over internet servers is undermining British and international justice."


    Our live page coverage of the High Court's extradition ruling is coming to a close, but our news team will be keeping a close eye on developments this evening as the Home Office seeks to put the men on flights to the US at the earliest opportunity. You can follow developments here: Abu Hamza to be extradited to US


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