Abu Hamza among five terror suspects extradited to US

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe BBC's Andy Moore: This plane was thought to be carrying Abu Hamza

Five terror suspects, including the radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, are on their way to face charges in the US after extradition from the UK.

One of two aircraft carrying the suspects arrived in the state of Connecticut in the early hours of Saturday. The other is bound for New York state.

Abu Hamza is thought to be on the second plane.

The men were deported after UK High Court judges dismissed a final appeal.

They said the five men, Abu Hamza, Babar Ahmad, Syed Talha Ahsan, Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled al-Fawwaz, did not show "new and compelling" reasons to stay in the UK.

Abu Hamza faces 11 charges in the US relating to hostage taking, conspiracy to establish a militant training camp and calling for holy war in Afghanistan.

Once he lands he is set to appear in front of a judge within 24 hours in an open hearing.

Mr al-Fawwaz and Mr Bary are accused of being aides to Osama Bin Laden in London. Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan face charges in connection with the alleged running of a pro-jihad website.

'No appeal'

Officers from the UK police's extradition unit handed the men to US marshals at the Mildenhall Royal Air Force base in Suffolk.

A police convoy brought the suspects from Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire to Suffolk at 19:15 BST.

In a statement, Home Secretary Theresa May said she was pleased that the court decision meant "these men, who used every available opportunity to frustrate and delay the extradition process over many years, could finally be removed".

Image caption The trial of terror suspect Abu Hamza could take up to three years

She said: "This government has co-operated fully with the courts and pressed at every stage to ensure this happened.

"It is right that these men, who are all accused of very serious offences, will finally face justice."

Abu Hamza is expected to be held at the Metropolitan Correction Centre in New York in an area reserved for high-profile prisoners.

A pre-trial hearing is likely to take place within about three weeks. The actual trial, which should take place in a public courtroom, could take between one and three years.

A US District Court hearing has been scheduled for Mr Ahmad and Mr Ahsan in Connecticut later, according to officials.

The two men are thought to be aboard the plane bound for the state, where an internet service provider was allegedly used to host one of the websites.

The High Court ruling on Friday afternoon brought to an end a long-running legal battle. The men's extradition requests were submitted between 1998 and 2006, between eight and 14 years ago.

The suspects final appeal came after the European Court of Human Rights agreed with successive UK courts, that they should face extradition.

Judges Sir John Thomas and Mr Justice Ousley said in their ruling that there was an "overwhelming public interest in the functioning of the extradition system" and that there was "no appeal from our decision".

Sir John added that there was little doubt each man had, over the years, "either taken or had the opportunity to take every conceivable point to prevent his extradition to the United States".

Their written ruling, read out in court, concluded that "each of the claimants' applications for permission to apply for judicial review or for a reopening of the statutory appeals be dismissed".

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites