West Yorkshire man jailed for 20 years over terror training camp plot

A West Yorkshire man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after admitting charges of plotting to set up a terrorist training camp in the US with hook-handed extremist Abu Hamza.

Saturday, 17th October 2015, 10:42 am
A court sketch of Haroon Aswat.

Paranoid schizophrenic Haroon Aswat, from Dewsbury, was sentenced in the US, having been extradited there a year ago.

Earlier this year he admitted supporting terrorism and conspiracy, with prosecutors saying he and Hamza conspired to create a terrorist training camp in Bly, Oregon, 15 years ago.

At his sentencing a prosecutor told the judge that Aswat’s attempt to paint himself as a pacifist was a “complete distortion of the truth”.

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Aswat could be transferred back to the UK to serve his sentence, after US District Judge Katherine Forrest sought assurances from prosecutors that the 41-year-old would be given good mental care.

Prosecutors confirmed he is eligible to apply for an international prisoner transfer, subject to approval by the Department of Justice.

He may also get credit for having served 10 years in Britain and a year in custody in the US, court papers said.

Aswat was arrested in 2005 in Zambia and later flown to the UK.

He fought extradition for several years and was held at Broadmoor Hospital before being sent to the US last October.

The European Court of Human Rights in January dismissed a case he brought against the Government arguing that his extradition rested on inadequate assurances from US officials about his treatment.

His lawyers claimed that it had breached Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In their ruling at the time, ECHR judges said: “In light of the specific assurances and additional information received from the United States government, and the careful examination of the case by the High Court in the United Kingdom, the court found that it could not be said that there was a real risk that Mr Aswat would be subjected to treatment contrary to Article 3 if extradited.

“The court therefore considered his complaint to be manifestly ill-founded pursuant to Article 35 of the Convention and declared the application inadmissible.”

Hamza, 56, previously of north London, was jailed for life in January after a jury last year found him guilty of supporting terrorist organisations.