High Court reserves judgement over Abu Hamza's health

 

The High Court reserved judgment today on a plea by radical cleric Abu Hamza, who is fighting extradition to the US, to have further medical tests.

His QC said an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) brain scan could establish that he is unfit to plead and should not be extradited to face trial on terrorism charges.

Alun Jones QC told two judges in London that Hamza's health is "deteriorating" and he is suffering from long-term depression, inability to concentrate and short-term memory loss.

Sir John Thomas, President of the Queen's Bench Division, said the court would give its ruling at a later date.

Hamza is one of five terror suspects who have launched last-ditch legal challenges at the court after the European Court of Human Rights refused to stop their US extradition.

Lawyers for the 54-year-old former imam at Finsbury Park mosque in north London are asking Sir John and Mr Justice Ouseley to continue an injunction preventing extradition pending tests recommended by two doctors.

Mr Jones said the application was not "a device" to avoid removal. Hamza is suffering from long-standing clinical depression as a result of being held for more than eight years in "harsh, utterly unacceptable conditions" in the high-security unit at Belmarsh prison in south-east London.

He is suffering from Type 2 diabetes, extensive psoriasis and sweating as well as the depressive effects of long-term sleep deprivation linked to being woken by prison guards every hour of the night.

Mr Jones said a scan could establish whether he is suffering from some organic, degenerative condition affecting his ability to concentrate on legal proceedings, and thus his fitness to plead.

James Eadie QC, appearing for the Home Secretary, argued that Hamza's medical condition is long-standing and today's application could have been brought earlier in the European Court.

There is now no reason why he should not be extradited as he could receive treatment, if necessary, in the US, which is where any issue over his fitness to plead could also be raised.

Mr Jones suggested that Hamza would have been allowed the test - the only issue currently standing between him and extradition - "if this case was not one of such public notoriety concerning a person who has become a pantomime villain".

After hearing legal submissions in the Hamza case, and reserving their judgment, the judges continued hearing submissions on behalf of the other terror suspects.

The judges announced that they expect to give a ruling on Friday.

Mr James Edie QC, for the Home Secretary, said if the judges ruled in her favour then that "effectively is the end" - as no further appeal was available in criminal cases.

Mr Edie agreed with Sir John that if the action goes against the applicants he will be saying to the court that "the Secretary of State will be entitled to move instantly".

PA

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum