Human Rights Court Blocks UK From Extraditing Terror Suspect To US; 'Severity Of Mental Condition' Cited As Reason

 @AmruthaGayathri
on April 16 2013 6:50 AM

The European Court of Human Rights, or ECHR, barred on Tuesday the extradition of a British mentally ill terrorism suspect accused of trying to set up a terrorist training camp in the U.S.

The French Strasbourg court ruled against extraditing Haroon Aswat, who allegedly tried to establish a training camp in Oregon more than a decade ago with radical cleric Abu Hamza, who was extradited to the U.S. last year, BBC reports.

The UK Home Office expressed disappointment at the court ruling, BBC reports.

The court ruled that sending Aswat, a British citizen, to the U.S. would breach his human rights due to the “severity of his mental condition.”

He suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and has been held at Broadmoor, a high-security psychiatric hospital, since 2008 after being transferred from prison.

He was arrested in 2005 in Britain. His lawyers have resisted his extradition in a series of appeals.

In its judgment, the court said it could not determine with certainty the nature of the detention facilities in which Aswat would be placed if extradited to the U.S., either before or after trial.

“Although Mr Aswat would have access to mental health services regardless of which prison he was be detained in, his extradition to a country where he had no ties and where he would face an uncertain future in an as yet undetermined institution, and possibly be subjected to the highly restrictive regime in ADX Florence, would violate article 3 of the convention,” the court said, according to the Guardian.

Article 3 of the European convention on human rights prohibits inhuman or degrading treatment.

In October of last year, the Strasbourg court allowed the extradition of terror suspects Abu Hamza, Babar Ahmad, Syed Talha Ahsan, Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled Al-Fawwaz to U.S. federal supermax prisons, where inmates spent 22 or 23 hours per day in solitary confinement.

But Aswat’s lawyers argued that the conditions in a supermax prison could exacerbate his paranoid schizophrenia.

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