Radical cleric Hamza wins British passport appeal

5th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Jailed radical Muslim preacher Abu Hamza won an appeal against a government bid to strip him of his British passport on Friday after a tribunal ruled the move would make him stateless.

The Egyptian-born Hamza, who has one eye and a hook for one hand, was jailed in Britain for seven years in 2007 for inciting followers to murder non-believers, and is fighting extradition to the United States.

The cleric had argued that removing his passport would effectively render him without a state as he had already been stripped of his Egyptian citizenship.

"We are satisfied on balance of probabilities that if a deprivation order were to be made, the appellant would be made stateless," judge Edward Mitting of Britain's Special Immigration Appeals Commission said in a ruling.

Britain's interior ministry, the Home Office, had argued at a hearing in London last month that there was no documentation to prove that Hamza was no longer an Egyptian national.

But the tribunal said he had "very good grounds for believing" he had been stripped of his citizenship.

The European Court of Human Rights in July halted the extradition of Hamza and three other men from Britain to the United States on terror charges, saying the case needed further examination.

Hamza is the former imam of the once-notorious Finsbury Park mosque in north London. The other men in jail awaiting extradition are British nationals Babar Ahmad, Haroon Rashid Aswat and Seyla Talha Ahsan.

The four have been indicted on various terrorism charges in the United States between 2004 and 2006.

Abu Hamza is wanted in the United States on charges including setting up an Al-Qaeda-style training camp for militants in the northwest state of Oregon.

He is also accused of sending money and recruits to assist Afghanistan's hardline former rulers the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and helping a gang of kidnappers in Yemen who abducted a 16-strong party of Western tourists in 1998.

© 2010 AFP

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