Yemen seeks extradition of militant London imam

YEMEN YESTERDAY asked Britain for the extradition of Abu Hamza al-Masri, the militant Islamic cleric based in London, for carrying out armed attacks in Yemen. Abu Hamza has admitted to contacts with the leader of the kidnappers who last month killed four hostages, including three Britons.

The request came in a letter from the Yemeni President, Ali Abdullah Saleh to Tony Blair, handed to Victor Henderson, the British ambassador in Sanaa.

According to the official news agency, it "included a request by the Yemeni government to hand over the terrorist Abu Hamza al-Masri, who is residing in London, to be tried on charges of carrying out terrorist activities in Yemen and in several other Arab states."

A spokesman for the Home Office said it neither confirmed nor denied extradition requests as a matter of course.

Earlier a senior Yemeni official expressed his anger over Britain's behaviour to Yemen since the killing of the hostages on 28 December. "Yemen is being subjected to a stream of smears in the mass media instigated by the Foreign Office," he said.

He was particularly enraged by the lack of British government action against Abu Hamza, the head of the Supporters of Sharia (Islamic law) group based in Finsbury Park, north London, who says he isan Afghan war veteran who lost his hands in a mine explosion. The sheikh had just said on the Arab satellite television channel al-Jezira, widely watched in Yemen, that foreign visitors to the country were "like dumb animals; whoever imprisons them can do what he likes with them". He said Yemen was not a Muslim state because it was not based on the Sharia. By his own account Abu Hamza had told the kidnappers to "do all you can to preserve the blood of Muslims", implying that it was acceptable to kill Christians.

The exact relationship between Abu Hamza, with his calls for holy war, the five British Muslims on trial this week in Aden for planning armed attacks and Abu Hassan, the leader of the kidnap gang who killed the four tourists, is still unclear. But to the Yemeni government it looks like a plot instigated from Britain with the knowledge of British intelligence.

"Abu Hamza did not hide his intelligence connections," said the Yemeni official. "Soon you will not be able to tell the difference between London and Tehran [as centres for Islamic militants]."

He pointed to the telephone conversation, made at the time of the kidnapping, between Abu Hamza in London and Abu Hassan in his mountain hideout, as evidence of Abu Hamza's role in the hostage-taking. He added that the involvement of the British group facing trial in Aden was underlined by the fact that one of them, Mohsin Ghalain, is Abu Hamza's step-son and his full son, Mohammed Mustapha Kamil, is on the run in Yemen.

Abu Hamza said last night he was not worried by the extradition request. "The Yemenis have a big cheek to ask for my extradition here", he said.

"Their economic policy in Yemen has forced the Yemeni people to resort to kidnapping to get their basic rights, so the situation is of their own making." He said it was "hypocritical to say the least to allow Salman Rushdie to publish what he calls a dream but then persecute [the group] Supporters of Sharia for simply reporting true events abroad.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power