My friend Andrew McCarthy has alerted me to the latest outrage perpetrated by the European Court of Human Rights. What is it about institutions with the phrase “Human Rights” in their title? Why are they reliably the enemy of freedom and human rights? (Take, for example, the case of the Canadian Human Rights Commissions.) While you ponder that, consider the career of Abu Hamza, the Egyptian-born “terrorist facilitator with a global reach” who made such a nuisance of himself in London’s Finsbury Mosque.
Exactly how he lost his hands and the use of one eye is a matter of dispute. Some say it was while clearing mines left by the Soviets in Afghanistan, others that it was in nitroglycerin accident in an al-Qaeda training camp. (There is even the contention that the Saudis amputated them as punishment for theft.) In any event, Hamza not the sort of chap you want running about. In Britain, he’s been convicted of various things, including 6 counts of soliciting to murder, and is currently serving 7 years in prison.
The United States has been trying to extradite him for years. Last week, the British government finally agreed to hand him over. But then the European Court of Human Rights got into the act. As the London Telegraph reports, the transnational body of unelected bureaucrats has just decided against allowing Britain to extradite Abu Hamza to the United States to face trial for aiding and abetting al-Qaeda and the Taliban and for his role in the kidnapping of 16 tourists in the Yemen in 1998, an incident in which two Americans and three Britons were killed. The European Court is worried, you see, that poor old Abu Hamza will be sent to prison at the Supermax ADX Florence, a super-secure facility in Colorado that hosts a number very bad folks, including Theodore Kaczynski (the “unabomber”) and Robert Hanssen, the FBI agent who spied for the Soviet Union, delivering up a host vital military secrets and complete lists of American double agents. Actually, Abu Hamza should feel right at home at the prison, because among its guests are a number of his friends and co-religionists, e.g., Zacarias Moussaoui, a conspirator in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Question: Why should Britain–still a sovereign nation, I believe–pay any heed to the European Court of Human Rights? What would happen if Mr. Brown’s government told the court to take a long walk off a short pier? What then? Fear and trembling in Strasbourg? Who cares?