Disturbing questions

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The Independent Online

However you look at it, the arrest of the Muslim cleric Abu Hamza raises a host of disturbing questions. The obvious one is that if the United States can find 11 charges on which to base an extradition request, why have the authorities here been so supine for so long? That this question has been posed most insistently by those sections of the British media with a known xenophobic agenda does not make it invalid. But the questions from the other side are more important.

However you look at it, the arrest of the Muslim cleric Abu Hamza raises a host of disturbing questions. The obvious one is that if the United States can find 11 charges on which to base an extradition request, why have the authorities here been so supine for so long? That this question has been posed most insistently by those sections of the British media with a known xenophobic agenda does not make it invalid. But the questions from the other side are more important.

How come our government signed an extradition agreement that allows British citizens to be extradited to the US, but not Americans to this country? How reliable is the US evidence? So far, almost every arrest warrant issued by the US for a foreign national has turned out to be based on incorrect or suspect evidence. And can we be sure that the British government is not exploiting US anti-terrorism laws to remove someone who has become an embarrassment?

The fact that Abu Hamza has a hook for a hand, preaches fire and brimstone and uses his mobile to telephone abroad does not automatically make him a terrorist. There must be proof.

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