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Lessons from the case of Abu Hamza.

Arnell, Paul


Paul Arnell


UK national and resident Abu Hamza was sentenced to life imprisonment in early 2015 by Manhattan Federal Court for various terrorist-related offences. His US sentencing hearing was the most recent in a long-running series of 10 separate cases. One remains - an appeal against his US conviction. Regardless of the outcome, and the chances of his success appear negligible, lessons can and should be drawn from Hamza's story. At the root of Hamza's case was his involvement in a number of terrorist-related activities. These included inflammatory speeches within and outside Finsbury Park Mosque in London, possession of a terrorist encyclopaedia, support for a hostage-taking in Yemen and the direction of attempts to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon. All of Hamza's relevant acts took place whilst he was physically present in London. They had an impact in or were connected to a number of countries including the UK, US, Yemen, Afghanistan, Australia, Sweden and Canada. Hamza's case was a complicated and lengthy criminal affair involving extraterritorial jurisdiction, extradition and human rights. Hamza's subjection to the law began with a US request for his extradition in 2004. A trial at the Old Bailey for separate acts followed in 2006, at which he was convicted and sentenced to six years imprisonment. He unsuccessfully appealed, and lost a human rights challenge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). He fought his extradition during the course of his UK sentence. This entailed two hearings at the High Court and two at the ECtHR. In the US there were two cases, his trial in a US Federal Court in 2014 and the sentencing hearing earlier this year.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 26, 2015
Journal Criminal law and justice weekly
Print ISSN 1759-7943
Publisher LexisNexis Butterworths
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 179
Issue 35
Pages 709-710
Institution Citation ARNELL, P. 2015. Lessons from the case of Abu Hamza. Criminal law and justice weekly [online], 179(35), pages 709-710. Available from:
Keywords Extradition; Jurisdiction; Britain; Terrorism; Criminal Justice; Abu Hamza
Publisher URL


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