Abu Hamza wins appeal to block US extradition

Human rights court issues temporary order

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UK-based Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, has won an interim order from the European Court of Human Rights blocking his extradition to the United States on terrorism charges.

The court said in a statement on Tuesday that it had upheld an application from Hamza, who is serving a seven-year jail term in Britain for inciting his followers to murder non-believers.

He is accused by U.S. prosecutors of attempting to set up a terrorist training camp in Bly, Oregon, from 1999 to early 2000.

Hamza argued that if he were extradited, he would face treatment in breach of the European Convention of Human Rights, which prevents torture and inhuman and degrading treatment.

In particular, he claimed he risked a life sentence without parole and might be held in a so-called "supermax" detention facility.

The court ordered that he should not be extradited until it was able to consider the case.

As well as the training camp charge, the Egyptian-born cleric, who applauded the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States in 2001, also faces charges that he was involved in plotting the capture of 16 Western hostages in Yemen in 1998.

Four of the hostages, three Britons and an Australian, were killed when Yemeni troops stormed the militants' hide-out.