Islamist cleric Abu Hamza and four other terror suspects reported to be heading for US jet at RAF Mildenhall
PUBLISHED: 22:28 05 October 2012 | UPDATED: 23:18 05 October 2012
Reports are suggesting that terror suspect Abu Hamza may be extradited through RAF Mildenhall in north Suffolk.
The Islamist cleric and four other terror suspects are set to be extradited to the US after their last-ditch appeals were dismissed out of hand by senior judges this afternoon.
A Gulfstream aircraft, hired by the US, is reported to have been waiting on the runway at Mildenhall since Tuesday.
A cavalcade of police vehicles, including armoured vans, arrived at HMP Long Lartin in Worcestershire at around 6.30 this evening.
After about an hour, the vehicles, understood to have Hamza and the other men inside, left the prison grounds, driving off at high speed and under the watch of heavy security.
Further reports suggest the vehicle arrived at RAF Mildenhall shortly before 11pm tonight.
The cleric’s extradition will bring to an end a drawn-out saga that had provoked the concern of the most senior judge in England and Wales, the Lord Chief Justice.
Sir John Thomas, President of the Queen’s Bench Division, and Mr Justice Ouseley said they were “wholly unconvinced” that Hamza was unfit to plead, and the sooner he was put on trial the better it would be.
The judges said it was “unacceptable” and “not just” that extradition should have dragged on for eight and 14 years, with the process “disfigured” by the succession of appeals.
Shortly after the judgment, the Home Office said: “We welcome the High Court decision on Abu Hamza and others. We are now working to extradite these men as quickly as possible.”
All five cases returned to the High Court after judges at the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene and stop the Home Secretary extraditing them.
Between 1999 and 2006, the men were indicted on various terrorism charges in America.
Hamza has been charged with 11 counts of criminal conduct related to the taking of 16 hostages in Yemen in 1998, advocating violent jihad in Afghanistan in 2001, and conspiring to establish a jihad training camp in Bly, Oregon, between June 2000 and December 2001.
Babar Ahmad, a computer expert from south London, and Syed Ahsan are accused of offences including using a website to provide support to terrorists and conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure persons or damage property in a foreign country.
Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled Al-Fawwaz were indicted - with Osama bin Laden and 20 others - for their alleged involvement in, or support for, the bombing of US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998.
Al-Fawwaz faces more than 269 counts of murder.