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European court: Extradition to US of Abu Hamza, 4 other terror suspects legal
PARIS (AP) ' Europe's human rights court has ruled that it would be legal for Britain to extradite an Egyptian-born radical Muslim cleric and four other terror suspects to the United States.
The European Court of Human Rights ruling Tuesday in the cases of Mustafa Kamal Mustafa, also known as Abu Hamza al-Masri, and the four others centered on tough U.S. detention policies.
The court, based in Strasbourg, France, said however that the five "should not be extradited" until its judgment becomes final ' a move which could take months ' or until a possible appeals process is completed.
The court put off ruling on the case of a sixth suspect as it awaits further information about that detainee's schizophrenia and conditions of his detention at a British hospital.
Based on charges filed in the U.S., the suspects could get lifelong jail terms without parole in maximum security conditions, such as with concrete furniture, timed showers, tiny cell windows and no outside communications.
The ECHR ruling centered on whether such conditions would violate Europe's human rights rules. The court agreed to consider the question in a ruling in July 2010.
Al-Masri claims he has lost his Egyptian nationality, but Britain considers him an Egyptian citizen. He has also been linked to the taking of 16 hostages in Yemen in 1998 and to preaching jihad in Afghanistan.
(This version corrects number of suspects in ruling.)