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Cleric loses battle against U.S. extradition

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  • Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza loses battle against extradition
  • Hamza loses bid to register another appeal against extradition from UK to U.S.
  • Hamza's followers included the so-called "shoe bomber" Richard Reid
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- A British judge ruled Wednesday that radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza may not appeal an order for his extradition to the United States, where he faces terrorism-related charges, the judge's office said.

Abu Hamza al-Masri's followers include the "shoe bomber" and the only person charged in the 9/11 attacks.

Abu Hamza al-Masri's followers include the "shoe bomber" and the only person charged in the 9/11 attacks.

The move clears the way for the Egyptian-born cleric's transfer to the U.S., where he faces 11 charges including conspiracy in connection with a 1998 kidnapping in Yemen and conspiring with others to establish an Islamic jihad, or holy war, training camp in rural Oregon in 1999.

High Court Justice Igor Judge on Wednesday turned down Abu Hamza's request for permission to appeal his extradition order to the House of Lords, which is Britain's highest court, Judge's office said.

Abu Hamza has one legal avenue left to appeal -- the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, a British Home Office spokesman said. He has 28 days in which to launch an appeal there.

Abu Hamza's lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

The one-eyed, hook-handed cleric is one of the highest-profile radical Islamic figures in Britain. He is already serving a seven-year sentence there for inciting racial hatred at his north London mosque and other terrorism-related charges.

Hamza has previously denied any wrongdoing, saying, "They have no evidence against me whatsoever apart from me trying basically to open the people's eyes about certain principles."

If Abu Hamza is extradited his British sentence could be interrupted so he could stand trial in the U.S., the Home Office has said.

If he receives a prison sentence in the U.S., Abu Hamza would be returned to England to complete his sentence there before serving time in the United States, the Home Office said.

Abu Hamza, who is also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, formerly preached at the Finsbury Park Mosque in London. His followers included the so-called "shoe bomber" Richard Reid, who was convicted of trying to light a bomb in his shoes on a trans-Atlantic flight and Zacarias Moussaoui, who was charged over the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Abu Hamza was also convicted of possessing eight video and audio recordings that prosecutors said he intended to distribute to stir up racial hatred. In all, police seized some 2,700 audio tapes and about 570 video tapes from two addresses -- one his home -- during raids in 2003.

The material included a 10-volume "encyclopedia" of Afghan jihad, which prosecutor David Perry described as "a manual for terrorism." The texts discussed how to make explosives, explained assassination methods and detailed the best means of attack.

Both non-Muslims and Muslims condemned his preaching, which include praising the September 11, 2001, attacks, calling al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden a hero, and describing the 2003 Columbia shuttle disaster as punishment from Allah because the astronauts were Christian, Hindu and Jewish.

The U.S. accuses Abu Hamza of helping kidnappers who abducted 16 Western tourists in Yemen in December 1998. Four hostages were killed and two injured in a rescue operation.

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Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said in 2004 that Abu Hamza could face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted of conspiracy to take hostages and hostage-taking.

The U.S. also accuses Hamza of trying to set up terrorist training camps in Bly, Oregon, and charge that he supported militants fighting in Afghanistan.

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