Abu Hamza concerns raised by Queen

Abu Hamza Abu Hamza is well known in the UK for his sermons held in and around Finsbury Park mosque in London

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The Queen voiced concerns to the previous government about the inability of UK authorities to arrest Abu Hamza al-Masri, it has emerged.

The BBC's Frank Gardner says the Queen told him she had spoken to a home secretary about the issue.

On Monday, a European Court of Human Rights ruling paved the way for the radical cleric to be extradited to the US after an eight-year battle.

The Home Office said the extradition would happen "as quickly as possible".

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, our correspondent said the Queen had been upset that there was no way to arrest the radical cleric and spoke to the then home secretary to ask why somebody who appeared to be inciting violence and hatred was still at large.

"Like anybody, she was upset that her country and its subjects were being denigrated by this man," said our correspondent, who stressed that the monarch was not lobbying but "merely voicing the views that many have".

The legal and political importance of this final decision by the European court cannot be overestimated. In the wake of 9/11, Washington and London developed extradition and counter-terrorism strategies designed to make sure that suspects, wherever they were, would face justice.

Now that Strasbourg has stepped aside, there is no other legal avenue open for three of the five.

But there is a question mark over the fate of Babar Ahmad and his co-accused, Syed Talha Ahsan. Campaigners have raised serious questions about the fairness of what has happened to them.

There has been an 11th-hour attempt to privately prosecute the pair because their alleged offences occurred in London.

That may lead to a last attempt to delay their transfer - but many legal experts doubt that it could stop these extraditions, which are so important to both governments.

A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace said it would "never comment on private conversations involving any member of the Royal Family".

The Home Office also said it would not comment on such conversations.

It is rare for the Queen to express opinions on such matters.

Labour MP Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said it showed "how deeply concerned" the Queen is for the "welfare of her subjects".

He told BBC News: "It's good that she has mentioned this to the home secretary and absolutely appropriate."

But campaign group Republic has accused the BBC of revealing details of the Queen's interest in the case to put her "on the right side of public opinion".

"The decision to disclose this one conversation while keeping all else secret smacks of a deliberate PR stunt to put the Queen on the right side of public opinion," the group said.

On Monday, a panel of the European court's highest judges declined to refer the case of Abu Hamza and four other terrorism suspects to the European Court's Grand Chamber - the last avenue of appeal open to them in their fight against extradition to the US.

The men have argued that they will face inhumane treatment in the US if they are sent there.

Life imprisonment

But the US authorities, supported by British officials, are now working on arrangements to transfer the men to America to face terrorism charges. It is believed extraditions could happen within three weeks.

Abu Hamza is wanted over allegations he plotted to set up a terrorist training camp in the US and was involved in kidnapping Western hostages in Yemen. If convicted, he faces life imprisonment.

Abu Hamza has argued he would face inhumane and degrading treatment if imprisoned for life without possibility of parole.

His legal battle has lasted more than eight years and cost millions of pounds.

The case of Babar Ahmad - who, with co-accused Syed Talha Ahsan, is alleged to have run a jihadist website in London that provided support to terrorists - is not as clear cut, according to BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw.

Fahad Ansari: "The fight will never be over until Babar (Ahmad) is back home with his family"

Campaigners for Mr Ahmad say the battle to keep him in the UK will continue.

His supporters say he should stand trial in the UK because the alleged offences occurred here.

Earlier this month, a businessman began the process of launching a private prosecution, saying that British suspects should be tried in the UK, not abroad.

Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled al-Fawwaz are accused of being aides to former al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in London.

They said that they faced an inhumane regime of solitary confinement in a special "supermax" prison.

The five men were indicted on terrorism charges by the US between 1999 and 2006.

Abu Hamza and Mr Ahmad have been in custody since 2004, and Mr Ahsan since 2006; the arrests of Mr Bary and Mr al-Fawwaz date back to 1998, making them the longest-held detainees without trial in the UK.

Abu Hamza was convicted in 2006 in the UK of charges including soliciting to murder and stirring up racial hatred, and given a seven-year jail sentence.

Following the European ruling on Monday, US Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said: "We are pleased that the litigation before the European Court of Human Rights in these cases has come to an end, and we will be working with the UK authorities on the arrangements to bring these subjects to the United States for prosecution."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1305.

    Hypocrisy of the highest order for Hamza to fear "inhumane treatment" what it is precisely what he preaches. If beheadings and disembowelments of "infidels" are not inhumane, why does he fear a US jail in which he will have three-squares and gym exercises and full medicals?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1304.

    HRH is right to voice concerns over failure of the justice system to deal quickly with advocates of evil like A.H. who are allowed to walk and operate freely among her people. Her duty is to protect her people from mad men and their ambitions of destroying British democracy, culture and freedom by inciting violence and hatred against the people.

    Is treason no longer a crime in Britain?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1303.

    I think the Queen has a right to ask this question of an enemy of the state & I think Frank Gardner has not done any great harm in letting us know the Queen view on this subject since it is a matter of national security & hardly party political.

    The BBC sometimes protests too much about being 'A' political when clearly it has an active liberal multicultural agenda.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1302.

    @1283 "I will say this for the Americans,break their laws and you actually get punished."

    And if you haven't broken any of their laws they hide you in a overseas prison in the hope that no one will find out..

  • rate this

    Comment number 1301.

    The Queen has every right to discuss her concerns with her government (whoever that may be at the time), but the BBC do not have the right to leak what those conversations are about. Some things should remain behind closed doors and the BBC should not seek to politicise those conversations.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1300.

    All this fluff and nonsense

    Goodbye Hamza - nuff said

  • rate this

    Comment number 1299.

    Well, he came to the UK and did not like our way of life. I guess the yanks will teach him and his supporters what their faith is going to be if you preach hatred in Europe and the US. Good riddance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1298.

    After the Twin Towers, and Pentagon incidents, and a plane crash over Pennsylvania, where in one day over 4000 people were killed, we here in the US don't have any use for terrorists. Send him on. : )

  • rate this

    Comment number 1297.

    I have no problem with Abu Hamza and the others who arnt UK citizens being deported but i'm disconcerened that we are willing as a country to deport our citizens to the USA

    Abu Hamza is a British citizen, has been since the 80's, - tried to remove his citizenship but then he would be stateless as he has no other citizenship which breaches UN treaty -note UN not EU or ECHR

  • rate this

    Comment number 1296.

    1271.Il Pirata
    Just now
    I'd be a lot more impressed if there were a few messages from muslims on here celebrating AH's extradition. The silence is deafening.

    No it isn't - there have been quite a few messages from Muslims on here today, condemming Abu and all his hook-handed shenanigans. You must have missed them...

  • rate this

    Comment number 1295.

    So the BBC publish the Queen's private conversations and the MET send a PC's logs (accurate or not as the case may be!) to a newspaper to stitch up a Government Whip!!

    I guess The Levenson Inquiry really was just a waste of time and taxpayers money....seems Piers Morgan was proved correct sooner than anyone could have predicted....'Come on back in Mr Murdoch - the waters lovely!'

  • rate this

    Comment number 1294.

    Whatever happened to the British Bill of Rights or was that another broken manifesto promise?

    We need to be able to control how people resident in the UK conduct themselves, and remove them without waiting years for the permission of a non British court.

    Rule 1 should be "if you break any UK laws you forfeit all entitlement to ANY rights and should expect no favourable treatment whatsoever".

  • rate this

    Comment number 1293.

    "James Froggatt
    Yet another botch up from Brussels. "

    The ECHR has nothing to do with Brussels. It was originally drafted by British lawyers after WW2 so if it is "contradictory and ill thought out" then blame them. If its manifestation in UK law under the HRA allows interpretations that are very different from how it is interpreted in 46 other countries then that is a problem we can fix.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1292.

    It is neither.Learn some elementary formal logic.No syllogism there"

    It is certainlky confirmation bias as you sought to use a particular and isolated case to justify a prejudice you exhibit. You inferred a general conclusion from a particular premise. If that isn't a fallacy of the "undistributed middle" variety, I don't know what is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1291.

    If one person expresses a bunch of unfounded fantastical ideas they call it insainity and lock them up to protect society.

    If 1 million people express a bunch of unfounded fantastical ideas they call it a religion and society protects it..

    Abu hamza, George W Bush, closet catholic Tony Blair should all be locked up. If we are going to deal with religious nut jobs lets be consistent.please.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1290.

    Sorry for the spam but this is ludicrous! The BBC wouldn't want to offend those peace loving proud British Muslims now, would they? You couldn't make it up, when it suits, the Beeb are Royalists, until she mentions anything to do with islam or muslims. Then they cant issue apologise quick enough!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1289.

    I see the anti british broadcasting corporation are pulling out all the stops to try to get the alleged terrorists from being sent to America,even bringing the queen into it,they should be ashamed.Traitors.You will now get all kinds of apologies but dont believe a word of it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1288.

    For the knee jerk republicans who rant about the Queen expressing concern to Prime MInisters :-.... The Queen has every right to offer advice, express doubt or concern about the impact of government decisions on the law of the land....and to question the validity of judgements that affect the British Public......and thank God that she does.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1287.

    "The US and GB share the same slimy problem with hand wringing far left types."

    You're such a sucker its incredible. Who made all the money out of this? And you're raving on about political correctness or some other gibberish.

    The tabloids, legal profession and politicians will be kicking up their heels laughing at the bloodthirsty mob rule fools who blame everyone but the culprits for this saga

  • rate this

    Comment number 1286.

    Interesting how the Beeb have published an apology to the Queen for airing her views but I arrived here from a link on the same page detailing the same...
    Perhaps chaps you might think it best to remove this page???


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