The European Court of Human Rights has rejected an appeal by five men fighting extradition from Britain. The United States wants to question them on terror-related charges. The best known among them is Abu Hamza al-Masri, a controversial Muslim cleric.
Abu Hamza has fought for eight years to resist extradition. His deportation has now become inevitable with the Court's decision. The British media have described him as a hate preacher, Al Jazeera reports, but Hamza says that he was only urging Muslims to stand up for themselves. In 2004, he told followers that then-U.S. President George W. Bush had "made it very clear that Afghanistan was only the start, and he has in his mind Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and you, European people, you will pay the most because he made it clear for you, Mr. Bush, that if you are not with me you are against me."
He is wanted by the U.S. authorities for allegedly attempting to establish a jihadi training camp in Oregon in the year 2000. He also faces 11 charges in relation to the taking of hostages in Yemen in 1998.
The European Court of Human Rights rejected Hamza's claim that jail time of up to 50 years in the United States, without parole, constitutes inhumane and degrading treatment. The European Court affirmed the decision of British judges made four years ago about the extradition.
Two of the others fighting extradition face charges about running a jihad website in London. Some question British authorities' decision to step aside and cede jurisdiction to their American counterparts.