Human rights court halts Hamza extradition

Human rights judges today ordered a halt to the extraditions of Babar Ahmad and radical preacher Abu Hamza, both wanted in the US on terror charges.

The Strasbourg court said it wanted more time to examine possible human rights breaches if the men face trial on charges which could mean life sentences without parole.



Ahmad, a 36-year old computer expert, has been in a UK prison without trial for nearly six years, refused bail since his arrest in August 2004 on a US extradition warrant.



Radical preacher Hamza is also wanted on terror charges in the US.



Both appealed separately to the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that their treatment and potential punishment could violate Human Rights Convention provisions on the "prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment".



The appeal prompted a stay of extradition proceedings pending today's verdict, which further postponed a final decision.



The ruling gives the UK Government until September 2 to submit observations and declares: "The (Human Rights) Court decided to prolong, until further notice, the interim measures it had adopted indicating to the UK Government that it was in the interests of the proper conduct of the proceedings that the applicants should not be extradited while the cases were being examined by the court".











Two other British nationals wanted in the US - Haroon Rashid Aswat and Seyla Talha Ahsan - have also been granted more time before extradition warrants can be carried out.



All four men were described by the Human Rights Court today as "alleged international terrorists", indicted on various charges.



The judges dismissed claims that US trial procedures would amount to a denial of justice, or that any of the four would be designated as "enemy combatants" and therefore exposed to a possible death penalty if convicted.



However, said today's ruling, there was a real risk that, in the case of "post-trial detention", Mr Ahmad, Mr Aswat and Mr Ahsan would be held at a "supermax" jail, - the US Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum, Florence, Colorado - known for short as "ADX Florence".



That raised concerns about breaches of Human Rights Code Article 3 on torture and inhuman or degrading treatment:



"Their complaints under Article 3 concerning the stringency of conditions there for what could be the rest of their lives (raises) serious questions of fact and law of such complexity that the Court (has) to examine them on their merits," said the judges.



In the case of Abu Hamza, however, the complaint about ADX Florence did not apply, "as he would at most risk spending a short period of time there and only until such time as his state of health was assessed".



Home Secretary Theresa May said: "We note that the European Court of Human Rights has decided that all the applications are partly admissible.



"We await the Court's judgment on the case. In the meantime these individuals will remain in custody."









All four were charged by the US between 2004 and 2006 and remain in UK jails pending extradition.



Ahmad and Ahsan are accused of providing support to terrorists and conspiracy to kill, maim or injure people and damage property in a foreign country.



Egyptian-born Abu Hamza is wanted in connection with 11 charges related to taking 16 hostages in Yemen in 1998, promoting violent jihad in Afghanistan in 2001 and conspiring to set up a jihad training camp in Oregon, America. Aswat is accused of conspiring with Abu Hamza to establish the camp.



The Human Rights judges rejected their claims that America would renege on diplomatic assurances that the four men would get fair trials, and would not be designated "enemy combatants" if found guilty.



The judges said there was no reason to believe that the US would breach the terms of the assurances, and there was therefore no risk of their trials amounting to "a flagrant denial of justice". Neither would any of the four be named as enemy combatants, nor would they be "subject to extraordinary rendition".



But the concerns about the "supermax" prison ADX Florence remained regarding three of the men, and all four were covered by another question the Human Rights judges wanted to consider further - does the Eight Amendment to the US Constitution (prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishment") give the equivalent protection to Article 3 of the European Human Rights Convention?



The judgment concluded: "The (UK) Government has been asked to submit observations by September 2. The applicants will then be given an opportunity to respond to those observations, after which the Government will be invited to submit its final observations in reply. The Court will then give its judgment."

News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits