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The Abu Hamza case shows that Britain has outsourced terrorism trials

20 May 2014

8:05 PM

20 May 2014

8:05 PM

It must seem awfully peculiar to Americans that it should take their courts to convict Abu Hamza on terrorism charges, including a kidnapping he orchestrated in Yemen which resulted in the deaths of three British citizens.

Both the Home Secretary and Prime Minister have welcomed yesterday’s verdict. Yet, to listen to them is to forget that it has taken more than 15 years and a foreign court to hold Abu Hamza to account for these crimes, circumstances which should be the cause of outrage – not celebration.

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This merriment is indicative of a discrete policy now being pursued by the Coalition which effectively outsources terrorism trials. In some cases there are legitimate reasons to extradite suspects, such as Abu Qatada who has charges to answer in Jordan. But it is also being applied in a number of cases where crimes have either been committed against British citizens or were planned in the UK.

Part of this is due to longstanding contacts between intelligence agencies and Islamist preachers. The government is keen to avoid too much scrutiny in open court of its so-called ‘Londonistan’ approach, a strategy whereby radicals were given space to spread their message provided they didn’t undermine British security or interests. Abu Hamza alluded to as much during his trial, suggesting he was in frequent contact with British intelligence.

Theresa May is particularly keen to reverse that now hackneyed policy by disenfranchising terror suspects altogether. Since the Coalition came to power the Home Secretary has stripped 37 people of their citizenship – by contrast, during the entire duration of the Second World War similar powers were used only four times. The thinking is simple (and rather populist): disbar potential troublemakers while they’re abroad and they’re no longer our problem. Stateless, but no longer within our borders, the outsourcing continues.

All this points to a remarkable decline in our own ambitions. For a while we seem to have given up, forgotten his sinister side, and just accepted Abu Hamza as a caricature figure we would have to live with. That he is now being punished is only due to the persistence of American prosecutors. We may have looked the other way on Hamza, but is the outsourcing of our criminal justice system something we are also prepared to accept with similarly blithe indifference?


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Show comments
  • alexander

    fat backward boss-eyed invalid throwback

  • Mynydd

    Mr Cameron/May have been in power for four years, plenty of time to change any law they didn’t agree with. Both of them have talked the talk about Human Rights, but no action. Time for the grey men in suits.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      They are all too busy with that preposterous idiot Miliband. Labour Troll. Ignore.

  • William Haworth

    ‘For a while we seem to have given up…’ What is this “we” you speak of? Nobody outside of Westminster, I suspect.

  • Lady Magdalene

    Our cowardly political class and Mandarinate have failed to learn the lessons of history: appeasement doesn’t work.
    Then there’s our liberal judiciary, the HRA and ECHR to contend with – which they’ll do nothing about.
    IF he’d gone to trial for terrorism in the UK and been convicted – a very big IF – he’d have been given a 20 year sentence; halved to 10, in a prison which resembles a holiday camp.
    At least in America they operate a system of justice which doesn’t favour the criminal and they know what the word “punishment” means.

    • In2minds

      “Our cowardly political class and Mandarinate have failed to learn the lessons of history: appeasement doesn’t work” –

      You forgot to mention the police who ‘helped’ Hamza with his street protests.

  • Ron Todd

    At least in America in five years time he won’t be in a (very) open prison.

  • Tony Quintus

    You do remember that he was arrested, charged, tried and convicted in a UK court, serving a 7 year sentence prior to his extradition, don’t you? As such he was not eligable for extradition until that sentence was completed.
    When the Guardian is writing better articles on a subject you know you are in trouble.

    • saffrin

      A 7 year sentence Labour hoped would see Hamza through until the USA elected another President, one that wouldn’t want Hamza.
      The only reason the Labour Government ordered Hamza be charged, prosecuted and imprisoned was to protect him from US extradition.

  • edlancey

    “by contrast, during the entire duration of the Second World War similar powers were used only four times.”

    Pathetically false comparison. In WW2 we would have interned the lot of them.

  • chudsmania

    The UK is hostage to the ECHR. Amazing huh ? Who’d have thought it……..

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Well done Spec! Preventing 2 replies = 1 cancelled subscription.

  • dado_trunking

    Ok, we get this was a test case. Which bankster is next?

    • Tony_E

      The Nat West three were extradited years ago.

      You should look for the real criminals in the central banks, not the commercial ones. The commercial ones generally acted in the way that was encouraged by the central banks.

  • Liberty

    We could not trust out justice system to convict him. They have been thouroughly corrupted by the PC agenda and view anyone with any grouse against the UK or any liberal democracy as a hero.

  • Roy

    Anybody who has followed the news knows Britain is a soft touch. This will not change things. These angelic islands are the adopted home of countless Abu Amzas doing their evil work. People who have tried to let it be known are harassed by the police, undoubtedly under instructions from high command for hands off.

  • Martin Adamson

    “during the entire duration of the Second World War similar powers were used only four times.”

    And of course it couldn’t possibly be because treason of this kind is now vastly more common than it ever has been before. During World War II how many cases were there where naturalised first or second generation German-, Italian- or Japanese-Americans, British, Australians, Canadians etc actively fought against their adopted country? Vanishingly few, I’m willing to bet. By contrast in the last 20 years there must have been many thousands of cases where Muslims have taken up arms against their native or adopted countries. There are obvious conclusions to be drawn, but nobody in the media or the political class wants anyone to draw them.

    • Andy

      You’re right. These people are traitors and should be treated as such.

  • Blindsideflanker

    Hamza was implicated in the deaths of three British people, yet the decadent British establishment couldn’t be bothered to get justice for them. It took the Americans to do it for them.

    The level of decadence of the British establishment could be heard when Goldsmith (Attorney General 2002-7) was interviewed today. He said it didn’t matter that we had to rely on the American’s to get justice for British people. Good lord if an Attorney General can’t see the importance of the British state getting justice for British people, then they really are a lost cause, and time we finished with this useless British state, and got something that will be on our side.

    • Colonel Mustard

      They have tied themselves up in a tangle of their own making, terrified of doing anything that the self-hating loony left lobby might scream about. It’s easier to tyrannise and betray the law abiding majority now.

      • Blindsideflanker

        Indeed, the Human Rights lawyers have so tied them up in knots they no longer know what to do. In becoming a play thing of the Human Rights lawyers the Law is no longer effective.

        • Ricky Strong

          It’s the Human Rights Act that is the problem. You can’t blame the lawyers or the judges for acting within the law. Blame the politicians who enacted the Act without giving it thorough consideration. It has often been described as woolly at best – an accurate description to my mind.

          • Blindsideflanker

            I agree, but, it doesn’t help having Judges who accentuate certain aspects of Human Rights law losing all sense of proportion.

            • Ricky Strong

              A fair point. Though not quite as bad as having Judges sitting in European courts whose purpose is to further the ‘project’ – nemo judex in causa sua.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        You last sentence is effectively the fulcrum of the Labour Party manifesto. Right on the button Colonel!

  • edithgrove

    Well at least they’re going after geriatric Brits with vim and vigor. Carry on, you’ve all done wonderfully.

  • UniteAgainstSocialism

    I heard on the news last night Home SecretaryTeresa May is now going to strip him
    of his British citizenship. Why wasnt this done when he was convicted
    here for terrorism offences, including incitement to murder Christians
    and Jews. We should have kicked him out years ago

  • UniteAgainstSocialism

    I heard on the news last night Home SecretaryTeresa May is now going to strip him
    of his British citizenship. Why wasnt this done when he was convicted
    here for terrorism offences, including incitement to murder Christians
    and Jews. We should have kicked him out years ago

    • Blindsideflanker

      Why wasn’t it done when he was found to have lied on his application for British nationality?

      • Andy

        He obtained British nationality by fraud. It ought to have been nullified and him returned to the country of his birth.

    • saffrin

      ECHR

    • Holly

      We don’t have the power to kick undesirables out any more, that is the problem, and to see Yvette Cooper sneering across the floor in Parliament at the current Home Secretary for not being able to ‘kick him out’ sooner and cheaper is a sight to behold. After all between the two main parties we have ‘progressed’ so far forward, I personally can not wait to go back in time.
      Tomorrow we finally get a chance to put the blame where it really lies, but is drowned out by the anti-UKIP screaming.
      Teresa May played the duff hand she was given, stuck to the ‘rules’ consecutive governments put in place, battled our own judges/legal bods,and never gave up until he was gone.
      In the grand scheme of things she did it pretty damned quick, and all credit to her and her little helpers.
      Labour would have simply changed the Home Secretary, who would have been all over the telly telling us how they were going to do X, Y, Z, just like the previous SIX Labour Home Secretaries did, just to make it appear they were doing something….Then go back to filling in some expenses form or other.

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