Abu Hamza: Cameron calls for faster extradition process
- 20 May 2014
- From the section UK
David Cameron has said more could be done to speed up the UK's extradition process, after Abu Hamza al-Masri was found guilty of supporting terrorism.
The prime minister said while it took 10 years to remove the radical Muslim cleric from the UK, justice was done.
Abu Hamza could face a life term when sentenced in September. He is to appeal his conviction by a New York court.
His trial heard he aided the kidnappers of 16 tourists in Yemen in 1998 and tried to build a terror training camp.
Mr Cameron told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he thought it was "good that he has faced justice", but that the government must "reflect on whether we can extradite faster".
By Dominic Casciani, BBC home affairs correspondent
Why did Abu Hamza's extradition take so long?
Firstly, judges were dealing with an unprecedented situation: multiple extradition requests from the US for a group of men who were accused of terrorism offences while they were based in the UK.
The cases involved unique circumstances and complex questions which, taken together, had never been put before our courts. These included whether controversial conditions in some maximum security American jails were humane.
So it was inevitable that there would be appeals, as our law allows, all the way to Europe: that is what happens in difficult cases.
The courts have now answered those questions - and that means future extraditions will be more speedy.
Secondly, the cleric's extradition was halted because after years of doing nothing, the UK's authorities suddenly decided in 2006 that they wanted to prosecute after all. The US was told to get to the back of the queue and wait until the end of that British trial. So, in all, Abu Hamza's case was as exceptional as you can get.
Abu Hamza was extradited from the UK, where he preached at the Finsbury Park mosque, after having been jailed for seven years for inciting murder and racial hatred.
Abu Hamza in numbers
Came to UK
Jailed in UK for 7 years
Extradited to US in 2012
Found guilty by US court of 11 terror charges in 2014