Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri arrives with a masked bodyguard, right, to conduct Friday prayers in the street outside the closed Finsbury Park Mosque in London in April 2004. (Photo: Max Nash, AP)
LONDON -- Radical preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri and four other
terror suspects can be extradited immediately to the U.S. to face
charges there, Britain's High Court ruled Friday.
Thomas and Duncan Ousely rejected last-ditch applications by al-Masri,
Khaled al-Fawwaz, Babar Ahmad, Adel Abdul Bary and Syed Ahsan. Thomas
said these are the final proceedings in the suspects' years-long battles
to avoid going to the U.S.
Britain has said it will act right away to remove them.
who turned London's Finsbury Park Mosque into a training ground for
radical Islamists, is wanted in the U.S. on charges that include helping
set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon.
Al Masri and the four
other men have been fighting extradition for as long as 14 years, and
both British and European courts have ruled that they can be sent to the
U.S. to face charges.
They applied to the High Court for a
last-minute halt, with al-Masri's lawyers saying his deteriorating
physical and mental health means it would be "oppressive" to send him to
a U.S. prison.
Lawyers for the preacher, who has one eye and
hooks in place of hands he claims to have lost fighting the Soviets in
Afghanistan, said he suffers from depression, chronic sleep deprivation,
diabetes and other ailments.
The Egyptian-born former nightclub
bouncer used north London's Finsbury Park Mosque as a base to persuade
young Muslims to take up the cause of holy war. The mosque was once
attended by Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and "shoe bomber"
He is wanted in the U.S. on multiple
terrorism-related charges, including helping abduct 16 hostages,
including two American tourists, in Yemen in 1998 and conspiring to set
up a terrorist training camp in Bly, Oregon, between 2000 and 2001.
He has been in a British jail since 2004 on charges of inciting racial hatred and encouraging followers to kill non-Muslims.
has fought for almost a decade to avoid being sent to the U.S., where
he is accused of running terrorist-funding websites. He and Ahsan both
face charges including using a website to provide support to terrorists
and conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure persons or damage
property in a foreign country.
Bary and al-Fawwaz were indicted
with others, including Osama bin Laden, for their alleged roles in the
bombings of two U.S. embassies in east Africa in 1998. Al-Fawwaz faces
more than 269 counts of murder.