1. Update regarding extradition request for Abu Hamza al-Masri
Several people asked for additional information regarding the effort by Abu Hamza to resist extradition from the UK to the US, which is mentioned in Thursday’s post regarding Oussame Kassir. In particular, people asked what grounds Abu Hamza had invoked before the ECHR. Basically, his objection is to the prospect of a life sentence in supermax custody, which in his view would constitute inhuman/degrading treatment in violation of Article 3 of the ECHR. Here is how the Court described the matter last year in the course of asking the UK not to extradite him pending the Court’s decision on the merits:
European Court of Human Rights grants
request for interim measures by Mustafa Kamal Mustafa (Abu Hamza)
On 1 August 2008, Mustafa Kamal Mustafa (Abu Hamza) lodged an application with the European Court of Human Rights (application no. 36742/08). He complains principally under Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment) of the European Convention of Human Rights that if extradited he would be exposed to treatment in breach of that provision because he risks a life sentence without parole and, particularly in view of his health problems, as a result of the fact that he might be detained in a so-called “supermax” detention facility.
The Government of the United States have sought his extradition to stand trial on charges relating to hostage-taking in Yemen in 1998-1999, conspiracy to create a terrorist training camp in Oregon between October 1999 and April 2000 and assistance to acts of terrorism in Afghanistan in 1999-2001.
Mr Mustafa sought interim measures under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court to prevent his extradition to the United States of America while the Court considered his application. On 4 August 2008, the Acting President of the Chamber to which the case has been allocated decided, in the interests of the parties and the proper conduct of the proceedings before the Court, to indicate to the Government of the United Kingdom, under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, that the applicant should not be extradited to the United States until the Court has given due consideration to the matter.
2. United States v. Kassir (S.D.N.Y. Sep. 15, 2009)
Following up on the post earlier this week describing the denial of Kassir’s post-verdict motions, Kassir has now been sentenced to life in prison. That in itself is interesting, given the mix of charges on which he was convicted: various material support counts, an explosives count, and conspiracy counts under 956(a) that did contemplate an agreement to commit violent acts abroad but that did not (so far as I can tell) allege a link between Kassir and any particular act of violence. I’ve written previously about the capacity of conspiracy liability to be used in this manner. If you are interested, see here.
Also interesting, for those who are not keeping up with the long-running saga of the Oregon training camp with which Kassir was associated: The press release for the sentencing has a brief summary of the current situation relating to co-defendants who remain in the UK fighting extradition to the US, including especially Abu Hamza:
KASSIR’s co-defendants ABU HAMZA and ASWAT are presently detained in England awaiting extradition to the United States. In addition to the charges against all three men, the Indictment charges ABU HAMZA with conspiracy and substantive offenses relating to a hostage-taking in Yemen in 1998, facilitating violent jihad in Afghanistan, and supplying goods and services to the Taliban in 2000 and 2001. ABU HAMZA was arrested in May 2004 by the Metropolitan Police at New Scotland Yard in London, England, on a warrant relating to these charges. Thereafter, ABU HAMZA was charged with terrorism offenses by the U.K. authorities, which resulted in a conviction in the U.K. on February 7, 2006. The extradition proceedings against ABU HAMZA were stayed pending completion of the U.K. criminal proceedings. After ABU HAMZA’s U.K. conviction was affirmed on appeal, the United States renewed its efforts to extradite ABU HAMZA to the United States. The extradition proceedings against ABU HAMZA are currently pending in the European Court of Human Rights.