Abu Hamza faces 'immediate' extradition after losing appeal
Home Office says radical cleric and four other suspects will be on plane within hours
RADICAL CLERIC Abu Hamza and four other suspects can be extradited to the United States to face trial on terrorism charges, the High Court has ruled. Judges Sir John Thomas and Mr Justice Ousley said that Hamza, Babar Ahmad, Syed Talha Ahsan, Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled al-Fawwaz had failed to show "new and compelling" reasons not extradite them, the BBC reports.
They ruled that "each of the claimants' applications for permission to apply for judicial review or for a re-opening of the statutory appeals be dismissed", adding: "It follows that their extradition to the United States of America may proceed immediately."
Singling out Abu Hamza, who had appealed for a stay of extradition so that he could undergo an MRI scan to diagnose health problems, the judges said: "The sooner he is put on trial the better."
There is "no appeal from our decision", they announced and the Home Office vowed to extradite the five "as quickly as possible".
"The decision is the culmination of an eight-year legal battle that has strained the government's constitutional relationship with the European court of human rights in Strasbourg and frustrated politicians, as well as the Lord Chief Justice," says The Guardian.
"It will bring to an end a drawn-out saga that had provoked the concern of the most senior judge in England and Wales," adds The Daily Telegraph.
"Abu Hamza's final appeal against extradition ended in judicial fireworks," Dominic Casciani of the BBC notes. "The battle has seen prime ministers and US presidents come and go. Six home secretaries had his file in the ministerial red box.
"[Hamza] caused lasting harm and enormous community tension. And he cast a long shadow over the lives of British Muslims who wanted to get on with life - just like the Christians and Jews Abu Hamza hated."
The Sun was more succinct. It covers the news under the headline "Sling Yer Hook".
The Daily Mail uses the same line but laments the fact that the whole process has "landed the British taxpayer with a bill running into millions of pounds for detention and legal costs".