British court: Radical cleric to be sent to U.S.

Image: Abu Hamza
Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri on Friday lost his legal challenge against an order to extradite him from Britain to the United States to face terrorism charges. Adrian Dennis / AFP - Getty Images file
/ Source: The Associated Press

Britain's High Court ruled Friday that radical Muslim preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri should be extradited to face terrorism charges in the United States.

Al-Masri, who is currently serving a seven-year sentence in Britain for inciting his followers to murder nonbelievers, has been indicted in the United States on 11 charges, including sending cash and volunteers to support al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Justice Igor Judge and Justice Jeremy Sullivan, who heard al-Masri's appeal of a lower court ruling, gave his lawyers two weeks to apply to the House of Lords for a further appeal.

Al-Masri, 51, who says he lost both hands and the sight of one eye in Afghanistan, once led London's Finsbury Park Mosque.

Mosque linked to terrorists
British counterterrorism officials say the mosque has attracted extremists. Its worshippers have included Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and "shoe bomber" Richard Reid.

The Egyptian-born al-Masri — listed in court documents under the name Mustafa Kamel Mustafa — was arrested in Britain on an extradition warrant in 2004, but the process was put on hold while he stood trial in Britain.

If convicted in the United States, Al-Masri would serve out his sentence in Britain first.

U.S. officials allege he conspired to establish a jihad training camp in Oregon and sent two supporters to view facilities there.

They also say al-Masri took part in a deadly hostage-taking incident in Yemen in 1998 involving 16 tourists. Three British tourists and one Australian visitor were killed in a shootout between Yemeni security forces and the Islamic extremist captors.

Al-Masri also is accused of facilitating terrorist training in Afghanistan.

After he was expelled from the mosque by administrators in 2003, he led Friday prayers on the street outside until his arrest the next year.