Radical preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri appears in US court after his extradition from Britain overnight

Saturday 06 October 2012 22.17
Abu Hamza, Khaled Al-Fawwaz, Adel Abdul Bary, Syed Ahsan and Babar Ahmad all appeared before this New York court
Abu Hamza, Khaled Al-Fawwaz, Adel Abdul Bary, Syed Ahsan and Babar Ahmad all appeared before this New York court

Abu Hamza has appeared in a New York court today facing terror charges following his extradition from the UK.

The radical cleric did not enter a plea.

An aircraft carrying the former imam at the Finsbury Park mosque in north London touched down in the US earlier today after he lost a High Court bid to remain in the UK on Friday.

Mr Hamza arrived in court without the hook he uses as a hand and complained through his lawyer that he wanted it to be given back.

Mr Hamza, who was jailed in the UK for seven years for soliciting to murder and inciting racial hatred in 2006, first faced an extradition request from the Americans in 2004.

He 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.

Four other men - Khaled Al-Fawwaz, Adel Abdul Bary, Syed Ahsan and Babar Ahmad - who also had last-ditch extradition challenges thrown out in London, pleaded not guilty to other terror charges.

Mr Ahmad, a computer expert from south London, and Mr 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.

They were arraigned in New Haven in Connecticut.

Mr Bary and Mr Al-Fawwaz were allegedly involved in, or supported, the bombing of US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998.

They appeared alongside Mr Hamza in New York.

US lawyer Preet Bharara called the extraditions "a watershed moment".

The British High Court ruled yesterday that the five men had lost their grounds for appeal and within hours they were placed on flights to the US.

They had been fighting extradition for between eight and 14 years.

British home secretary Theresa May said she was looking at ways of speeding up the extradition process.

Speaking on BBC's Radio 4 She said: "It is right to look at the process. It is frustrating, I think everybody is frustrated at how long it has taken to extradite these particular individuals." 

She rejected claims that the delays were in part down to the failure of Home Office officials to expedite proceedings.