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The Boston Globe


Terror suspect’s US extradition halted

LONDON — A European court on Tuesday blocked Britain from extraditing a mentally ill suspect accused of trying to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that sending Haroon Aswat to a prison in the United States would breach his human rights due to the ‘‘severity of his mental condition.’’

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The Strasbourg, France-based court said Aswat, a British citizen who is being held in England’s Broadmoor secure psychiatric hospital, suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.

‘‘In light of the medical evidence before it, the court found that there was a real risk that Mr. Aswat’s extradition to the USA, a country to which he had no ties, and to a different, potentially more hostile prison environment, would result in a significant deterioration in his mental and physical health,’’ the panel of seven judges said.

Aswat is accused by US prosecutors of conspiring with radical cleric Mustafa Kamel Mustafa — also known as Abu Hamza al-Masri — to set up a terrorist training camp in Bly, Ore., more than a decade ago.

Mustafa, who gained notoriety in Britain as the fiery head preacher at London’s Finsbury Park Mosque, was extradited to the United States last year after losing a long legal battle. He is awaiting trial.

Aswat was arrested on a US warrant in 2005 and has been fighting extradition since.

Britain’s Home Office said it was disappointed by the ruling and was considering whether to appeal to a higher body of the court, the Grand Chamber.

If there is no appeal, the judgment becomes final in three months.

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