Abu Hamza is an unattractive man whose extradition to the US has been found to be legal, but like all humans he deserves continuing fairness. Will he get it?
There is no doubt that his radical views and purported terrorist activities; his manipulation of the legal system over many years; its cost to British taxpayers in legal aid and benefit bills; his lack of remorse, and his general demeanour have left him with few friends, but while his now-exhausted legal fight to remain in the UK has been seen to have had a just conclusion so far, it is important that what happens to him from now on is fair also.
Much concern has been expressed over the treatment of other criminal suspects, British, American and of other nationality, by the US authorities and the extradition process is viewed as politically driven and flawed. Reports of men and women spending years in solitary confinement without trial in conditions of mental and emotional torture are distressing particularly when the accusations against them may be unjust or exaggerated, and when the characters are sympathetic to the public eye.
It is likely that Abu Hanza’s treatment will be at least as harsh, and that beyond his family and supporters only libertarians and a few human right lawyers will be concerned. However, we should all be uneasy when any individual, whether a suspected terrorist or a whistleblower or an autistic computer hacker or anyone else, is not allowed humane treatment nor fair and speedy justice. The fact that Abu Hamza’s actions have brought him to the point of extradition after a long but just process does not mean the justice, legal and humane, has to stop. Two wrongs do not make a right.