West Yorkshire terror suspect complaint rejected

Haroon Aswat.
Haroon Aswat.
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European human rights judges have described as “manifestly ill-founded” a complaint by a West Yorkshire terror suspect against his extradition to the United States.

The case brought by mentally ill Haroon Aswat that his extradition last year to face terror charges left him open to inhuman or degrading treatment was dismissed by European Court of Human Rights.

The 40-year-old from Dewsbury suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and argued that the decision by the British Government rested on inadequate assurances from US officials about his treatment, and therefore breached Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

But ECHR judges today handed down a ruling rejecting his case, saying: “In light of the specific assurances and additional information received from the United States government, and the careful examination of the case by the High Court in the United Kingdom, the court found that it could not be said that there was a real risk that Mr Aswat would be subjected to treatment contrary to Article 3 if extradited.

“The Court therefore considered his complaint to be manifestly ill-founded pursuant to Article 35 of the Convention and declared the application inadmissible.”

Aswat, who was originally arrested in 2005, was held at Broadmoor psychiatric hospital before he was sent to the US. He later appeared in a New York court, where he pleaded not guilty to four terrorism charges.

He is accused by US authorities of working with Abu Hamza in 1999 to set up a jihadist training camp in Oregon.

Aswat’s extradition was blocked in April 2013 by ECHR judges who ruled that he could face inhumane treatment as there were no guarantees over where he would be detained.

Home Secretary Theresa May was told to put extradition plans on hold after High Court judges heard that Aswat suffered from serious mental illness.

But in September judges at the same court said they were satisfied with assurances given by American officials that he would be cared for and he was sent to the US.

The ECHR judges upheld the High Court’s decision today, writing: “In considering Mr Aswat’s specific complaints, the court found that the assurances given by the United States government ensured that Mr Aswat would be given treatment appropriate to his mental health needs.

“The court found that there was no persuasive evidence before it to suggest that he would not receive adequate treatment in the United States to control his mental illness, or that he would be detained in circumstances which would place him at risk of a mental health relapse so as to render his extradition in breach of Article 3.”

Hamza, previously of north London, was jailed for life earlier this month after a jury last year found him guilty of supporting terrorist organisations, including aiding the taking of hostages in Yemen and seeking to set up an al Qaida training camp in the US.