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Abu Hamza Extradition: Julia O'Dwyer Speaks Out Against ECHR Ruling

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EXTRADITION RULING OUTCRY
Extradition campaigners have expressed concern over the ruling from the European Court of Rights on Tuesday that five terror suspects will be sent to America to face trial | Getty Images

The approval of five terror suspects held in Britain for extradition to the US has reignited calls for alleged criminals to be tried in the UK rather than America, over concerns their humans rights will be violated.

Radical preacher Abu Hamza and four other suspects were approved for extradition by human rights judges in Europe on Tuesday morning, in a move welcomed by the government.

But Julia O'Dwyer, whose son Richard is facing extradition to the US over copyright charges said she found it "absolutely amazing" that the European Court of Human Rights came to its decision considering what is known about the treatment of prisoners in US "supermax" jails.

"Some of these people are British citizens who have never left the country. Guilt or innocence isn't the issue here. It's really not down to anybody to differentiate between crimes," she told The Huffington Post UK.

"If an activity has taken place in this country what the law changers want is for that crime to be tried in this country.

"If people are not fugitives then why should they be taken to America? No matter what the offence is they should be prosecuted in this country. It's not for anybody to say because they are terrorists they deserve different treatment," she told The Huffington Post UK.

"In law if you commit a crime it would be dealt with accordingly, so whether you're a murderer or a rapist or a terrorist you shouldn't single one person out. Because everybody has got human rights and I find it absolutely amazing that the court has come to this decision today when it is publicly very well known about those conditions in supermax prisons. I'm a bit shocked by it really."

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Sarah Ludford, the Liberal Democrats' European justice and human rights spokeswoman, said there were questions if America was "the right place" to try these suspects "if the offence took place mainly in the UK".

"Those like Gary McKinnon and Richard O'Dwyer whose alleged crimes were perpetrated from their computers at home in Britain should face home-grown justice," she said.

Asperger's sufferer McKinnon, 46, from Wood Green, north London, is still waiting to hear whether he will be extradited over charges that he hacked into US military computers 10 years ago, while O'Dwyer, 23, of Chesterfield, is accused of breaking American copyright laws.

In a statement Labour shadow cabinet member Sadiq Khan said Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan were constituents and "their families, legal representatives and support systems are here in the UK.":

"These are serious allegations, but both of my constituents have said that they are happy to face the music here.

“It is important to note that neither Babar Ahmad or Syed Talha Ahsan have been fighting against standing trial – rather, as British citizens accused of committing crimes in the UK, they want to clear their names in a British court before their own peers. It would appear that this ruling will deny my constituents that opportunity.”

But Dominic Raab, who has campaigned against the extradition of O'Dwyer and McKinnon said it was "ludicrous" to claim the terror suspects should not be tried because of "tough conditions" in prisons.

“There are all sorts of extradition reforms that we need, and those ought to be enacted in this country via parliament, but to say that we couldn’t extradite serious terrorist players to the US because they might get a long sentence in tough prison conditions would be ludicrous," he told BBC News.

"It would be ludicrous as a moral matter, but it would also undermine the whole basis for counter-terrorism extradition to the US. Of course in serious cases you face long prison sentences and tough conditions, so I think actually in the cases like Abu Hamza, this is absolutely right, and we ought to be facilitating extradition."

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg rejected the five men's claims that they could face prison conditions and jail terms which would expose them to "torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" in breach of the European human rights code.

The case of a sixth man, Haroon Rashid Aswat, was adjourned until a further hearing.

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