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Queen Elizabeth upset with cleric Hamza's hate message

September 25, 2012 16:44 IST

It is rare for Queen Elizabeth to intervene or express opinion on matters related to terrorism, but she was so upset at radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza's activities in Britain that she asked a former Home secretary why he had not been arrested, it was reported on Tuesday.

Hamza, 54, described as the face of extremism with a hook on his right hand, on Monday lost his last chance to stop his extradition to the United States, when the Grand Chamber Panel of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rejected his appeal to reopen his case.

As Britain and the US welcomed the ECHR's decision, it was revealed that Queen Elizabeth had been upset about Hamza being allowed to preach his message of hate in the UK.

He often addressed gatherings in London, in which he ridiculed Britain and the West.

Frank Gardner, BBC's respected security correspondent, told Radio 4's Today programme that the Queen told him of her frustration at Hamza remaining at liberty in Britain before he was charged with offences under the Terrorism Act in October 2004.

"The Queen was pretty upset that there was no way to arrest him. She couldn't understand – surely there must be some law that he broke. Well, sure enough there was. He was eventually convicted and sentenced to seven years for soliciting murder and racial hatred," he said.

Gardner added, "She spoke to the Home Secretary at the time and said, 'surely this man must have broken some laws, my goodness, why is he still at large?' Because he was conducting these radical activities, he called Britain a toilet, he was incredibly anti-British, and yet he was sucking up money from this country for a long time. He was a huge embarrassment to Muslims, who condemned him."

Asked how he knew about the Queen's views on Hamza, Gardner said simply, "She told me."

Buckingham Palace declined to comment.

Monday's ruling by a panel of five ECHR judges means there is now no other barrier to deporting Hamza and the others, and brings to an end a series of long legal battles by the terror suspects.

Hamza, who lost both hands and an eye fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, is charged in the US with 11 counts relating to the taking of 16 hostages in Yemen in 1998, advocating jihad in Afghanistan in 2001 and conspiring to establish a jihad training camp in Bly, Oregon in 2000–2001.

The American authorities first requested his extradition in 2004 but the process was almost immediately put on hold when Hamza was charged in the UK with 15 offences under the Terrorism Act, temporarily staying the US extradition process.

In 2006 he was found guilty on 11 charges, including inciting murder and racial hate, and was jailed for seven years.

Prasun Sonwalkar in London
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