The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that radical preacher Abu Hamza’s human rights are not at risk if he is extradited to face trial in the United States.
It had been expected by some quarters that the court would rule that the prospect of being sentenced to life in one of America’s tough ‘Super Max’ prisons would be a breach of his human rights.
Liberal leaning commentators have expressed hope that the ruling will silence some of the human rights court’s critics. They have, however, been cautious not to praise the judgement.
The ruling was based not just on the possible sentence, but on the undoubted sophistication of the American judicial system and its capacity for just and fair decisions.
If convicted, Abu Hamza and four other terrorist subjects could find themselves under a tough regime of 23 hours a day solitary confinement and little exercise. The court has found that this would not amount to inhumane or degrading treatment and that the American penal system was sufficiently robust to protect them from harm.
It is thought that Hamza himself is unlikely to be subjected to the harshest aspects of American justice due to his disability. He famously lost both his hands, allegedly fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The court has still to consider the risk posed to another defendant who suffers from mental health problems.
Prime Minister David Cameron has said that he is pleased with the ruling. He remarked that it is right that we have proper legal procedures, even if it is frustrating that they take a long time to complete.
The decision may be appealed to the Grand Chamber. However, the Home Office, which is seeking the deportation, has indicated that it is confident that any appeal would be unsuccessful.