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Hate preacher Abu Hamza arrives in US
New York, Oct 6 (IANS) Hate preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri arrived here Saturday after losing a long legal battle in Britain to avoid extradition to the US, CNN reported.
Al-Masri was one of five men who departed Britain late Friday, hours after the High Court in London ruled the men could be extradited "immediately".
Two planes carrying the men left the Royal Air Force base Mildenhall so they could face trial in the US, British Home Secretary Theresa May said in a statement.
Al-Masri, Khaled al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary were taken to New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan ahead of their first scheduled court appearance expected this weekend in US District Court, the source said requesting anonymity.
Two others, Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan, were scheduled to appear Saturday morning before a judge in New Haven, Connecticut, according to the US Attorney’s office there.
Earlier Friday, Judge John Thomas ruled that the British court’s decision authorizing the extradition of the men could not be appealed and said it "may proceed immediately".
The charges against al-Masri include conspiracy in connection with a 1998 kidnapping of 16 Westerners in Yemen, and conspiring with others to establish an Islamic jihad training camp in Oregon in 1999, according to the broadcaster.
He could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.
The cases of Ahmad and Ahsan are both linked to a website called azzam.com, which US prosecutors say was run by the two men to support terrorism around the world.
Meanwhile, Al-Fawwaz and Bary are accused of being Al Qaeda associates of Osama bin Laden in London during the 1990s.
Al-Masri is one of the highest-profile radical Islamic figures in Britain, where he was already sentenced to seven years for inciting racial hatred at his north London mosque and other terrorism-related charges.
Born in Egypt in 1958, he travelled to Britain to study before gaining citizenship through marriage in the 1980s, the CNN said.
Al-Masri, who faces 11 charges in US courts, has called the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center "a towering day in history" and described Osama as "a good guy and a hero".
He also described the Columbia space shuttle disaster in 2003 as "punishment from Allah" because the astronauts were Christian, Hindu and Jewish.
–Indo-Asian News Service