Court confirms ruling to halt UK plans for US extradition of terrorist suspect

Judges have rejected a request from the United Kingdom that they re-examine a decision to stop the government’s plan to extradite a terrorism suspect to the United States.

Last April, the European Court of Human rights held, unanimously, in the case Aswat v. the United Kingdom (application no. 17299/12), that there would be a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights if Haroon Aswat was extradited to the United States.

The court further decided to continue to indicate to the government of the United Kingdom under Rule 39 of its Rules of Court (interim measures) not to extradite Aswat until the judgment became final or until further order.

The court’s April decision became final yesterday, following an examination of the United Kingdom’s request for a referral of the case to the Grand Chamber.

Aswat complained that his extradition to the United States of America would amount to ill-treatment, in particular because the detention conditions (a potentially long period of pre-trial detention and his possible placement in a “supermax” prison) were likely to exacerbate his condition of paranoid schizophrenia. The court held that Aswat’s extradition would amount to a violation of Article 3 solely on account of the current severity of his mental illness.

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