Abu Hamza’s Indian crimes

A new hook

Britain has decided to extradite Abu Hamza “The Hook” to the United States to face charges of terrorism, but only after extracting a promise from the US Justice Department that the gallows will not await him. It now appears that India too has a case against the one-eyed jihadi.

Meanwhile, in a surprising development in India, the Ahmedabad crime branch has said that Abu Hamza was allegedly linked with three major cases of terror in Ahmedabad. Hamza has reportedly been chargesheeted in these cases and is now on the most wanted list of the crime branch.

The first case allegedly was a series of attacks in local Ahmedabad buses (AMTS buses) on May 29, 2002, the second was an attack on the Rath Yatra in the city on July 12, 2002 and the third was the the devastating attack on Akshardham Temple in Ahmedabad on September 24, 2003.

Hamza is allegedly the financier, instigator and consipirator in these attacks. He represents Lashkar-e-Taiba and is believed to be a co-conspirator with Jaish-e-Mohammad and Pakistan’s ISI in this case.

The radical cleric, who has links in Hyderabad, allegedly hatched the Akshardham attack conspiracy in Riyadh and raised money for the attack from various organisations. [HT]

Too many times have we seen countries extraditing suspects only under the condition of waiving the death penalty. Abu Salem responsible for the series of bomb blasts in Bombay in 1992 that killed hundreds escaped to Portugal. Portugal agreed to extradite him only after India promised that he would not be put to death, even if the crime incurred the death penalty under Indian law.

The Europeans are entitled to their lofty liberal ideas of fighting crime. But their action drives criminal behaviour that ultimately harms European interests too. Criminals everywhere are ending up thronging to Europe in order to escape punishment and the death penalty. Only lofty liberal Europeans will believe that once inside fortress Europe, these criminals will turn over a new leaf and become law-abiding European citizens.

Extradition should be based on whether the suspect receives a free and fair trial in a well-developed and transparent jurisdiction. Pre-determining the sentence before trial flies in the face of the principles of justice. Its concern for human rights is admirable, but Europe needs balance this with the needs of justice.