Abu Hamza extradition blocked by British high court judge

Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza on April 16, 2004 in London. Hamza was set to be extradited to the US after losing his appeal, but a British high court judge halted the extradition on September 26, 2012, after the cleric lodged a last-minute legal appeal.

The extradition of radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri was halted on Wednesday by a British high court judge after the cleric launched a last-ditch appeal.

The BBC reported that an injunction has temporarily halted the removal of the cleric and another suspect from the UK.

Al-Masri and Khaled Al-Fawwaz will voice their appeals at a hearing held next Tuesday and Wednesday, said the BBC.

"A High Court judge has considered the applications on the papers and adjourned the cases to a hearing in open court," said a spokeswoman for the Judiciary Office, according to Agence France Presse. "The judge has issued interim injunctions preventing their removal prior to those hearings. The judge has directed the hearings be fixed urgently."

The grounds for the appeal lodged by Al-Masri and Al-Fawwaz are unclear, said AFP.

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The Home Office said, "The European Court of Human Rights ruled there was no bar to the extradition of these men. We will continue working to ensure they are handed over to the US authorities as soon as possible."

On Monday, just two days prior, Al-Masri and four other terror suspects lost their appeal against extradition, when the European Court of Human Rights refused to re-open their cases. They were expected to be extradited to the US within the next two to three weeks, said the Guardian.

A government source told AFP that the appeals were simply a "delaying tactic."

However, legal sources told the BBC that Al-Fawwaz had new evidence to argue against his extradition.

Al-Masri is wanted in the US for allegedly setting up an Al Qaeda style training camp in Oregon. He is also currently serving a seven-year prison sentence in Britain for inciting followers to murder non-believers.

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