UK CT & COIN Features – 20 June 2008

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A round-up of today’s newspaper articles covering the UK’s involvement in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations at home and abroad.

Abu Hamza loses appeal against extradition to US
Nick Allen, The Telegraph

Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza lost his High Court battle today against extradition to the United States. Two judges ruled that the decision to extradite Hamza was “unassailable” and he should be sent to the US where he faces terrorism related charges.

Egyptian-born Hamza, 51, from west London, who is fitted with hooks on both partially-amputated arms, is serving a seven-year jail term in the UK for stirring up racial hatred and inciting followers to murder non-believers.

The US authorities want him to stand trial there for allegedly attempting to set up an al-Qa’eda training camp in Oregon.

Also:

Abu Hamza loses US extradition appeal, faces 100-year jail sentence
Nick Allen, The Telegraph

Abu Hamza: Bouncer turned cleric
The Telegraph

Abu Hamza loses legal fight against extradition to US
David Batty, The Guardian

Abu Hamza loses extradition fight
The Independent

Radical cleric Abu Hamza loses extradition appeal
Nico Hines, The Times

Abu Hamza: he’s not gone yet
Philip Johnston, The Telegraph

Abu Hamza, the hook-handed cleric jailed for stirring up religious hatred, has lost his appeal against extradition to America on alleged terrorism charges. But this does not necessarily mean he will go. For a start he is serving a seven-year jail term in Britain which has to be completed – or at least 50 per cent of it.

However, extradition is not a straightforward affair. There are two alleged terrorists still held in Britain pending their removal to America for their suspected role in the bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania 10 years ago.

They were arrested in 1998 but have managed to tie up the legal system in knots for a decade.

Hamza is expected to appeal to the law lords – but they gave the all-clear five years ago to the extradition of the suspects who are still in the country so even a decision of the country’s supreme court does not guarantee that anything actually happens. After that, there is always the option of a further appeal to the European court of human rights.

Mourn Sarah Bryant as a soldier, not a woman
Cassandra Jardine, The Telegraph

The sight of Sarah Bryant’s bare shoulders in her wedding dress is almost unbearably poignant. Two years ago, she was a glowing bride; now the 26-year-old is wearing a body bag, having been blown up when her Land Rover was hit by an explosion on Tuesday afternoon. The grief of the family and friends who knew and loved her is no more intense because she happened to be young, blonde and pretty, but inevitably – sentimentally, perhaps – those attributes affect the rest of us, including those who worked with her.

Male soldiers serving with Sgt Bryant have, say sources on the ground, been rocked by her death. It has stopped them in their tracks, made them question their enthusiasm for the dangerous task they face, and feel extra protective of the other women serving alongside them.

Her death will naturally revive those old arguments about whether women are suited to the battlefield. It is always so when something happens for the first time and Sgt Bryant is the first woman to die in the British Armed Forces in Afghanistan.

But, before we dust off the debate that the 18,000 women serving in the forces thought had been laid to rest, we should perhaps note that none of those close to Sarah have, even in the depths of their sorrow, suggested that her gender should be treated as an issue.

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