July 16, 2007


Controversial Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri should not be extradited from the UK to face terror charges in the US, a court has been told.

Lawyers for Abu Hamza, 49, from west London, told a hearing in London that US evidence had been gained through torture and should not be used.

Prosecutor Hugo Keith denied the claim, saying it would use phone records and the cleric's own admission at a trial.

Hamza faces extradition to the US on a string of terror charges. If convicted he would be held at the notorious Supermax prison, the successor to Alcatraz that is even more secure than the island-based jail.

The court was told of the 23 hour lockdown regime at the prison, where inmates include shoebomber Richard Reid, and the likelihood that if extradited and convicted, Hamza could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Today, a defence witness for Hamza, American attorney and extradition expert Bruce Malloy, told City of Westminster Magistrates Court of the measures Bush had put in place.

He said: "US citizens are barred from financial transactions with Abu Hamza under a power that allows the president of the United States to list individuals and companies. It controls the contact US individuals can have with those.

"This is a statement from the President that the US believes this person to be a terrorist of such significance we have put them on this list that bans US citizens from dealing with them financially.

"Anyone who provided legal services to Mr Hamza would have to get a licence from the American treasury. I have to have a permit to offer legal services to Abu Hamza.

"This is part of the President's unfettered discretion in foreign affairs. Congress has allowed the President to act outside the due process of law.

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