BBC’s correspondent Frank Gardner revealed that the Queen had been upset that there was no way to arrest the radical cleric Abu Hamza and spoke to the then home secretary to ask why somebody who appeared to be inciting violence and hatred was still at large. (Source: persianrealm.com)
“Like anybody, she was upset that her country and its subjects were being denigrated by this man,” said our correspondent, who stressed that the monarch was not lobbying but “merely voicing the views that many have”.
It is rare for the Queen to express opinions on such matters.
Abu Hamza concerns raised by Queen (BBC):
The BBC’s Frank Gardner says the Queen told him she had spoken to a home secretary about the issue.
Abu Hamza to be extradited to US over terrorism charges (Sep 25, 2012 by IBTimesUK):
Finally, a European Court of Human Rights ruling has paved the way for the radical cleric Abu Hamza to be extradited to the US after an eight-year battle to stay in the UK. The high profile case of Hamza, known as the ‘preacher of hate’, even prompted Queen Elizabeth to break with protocol to voice concerns to the then-Home Secretary about the failure of the authorities to arrest Hamza before his arrest in 2004.
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER
Abu Hamza`s Father Speaks up (Apr 10, 2012):
Hate preacher Abu Hamza facing up to 50 years behind bars in the U.S. after losing extradition appeal. Hook-handed one-eyed hardliner Hamza is wanted on 11 terrorism charges along with four other Muslim likeminds who are also to be deported to face possible jail terms.
The BBC has apologised for revealing the Queen once raised concerns with the government about why radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri had not been arrested.
The apology comes after security correspondent Frank Gardner told BBC Radio 4 details of a private conversation he had with the Queen.
The BBC said it and Gardner were sorry for the “breach of confidence”, which both “deeply regret”.
On Monday, Abu Hamza lost his latest appeal against extradition to the US.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled the extradition could go ahead. The Home Office hopes this can be achieved within three weeks.
The Strasbourg court’s decision means that the cleric and four other terrorism suspects can face terrorism trials in the US after delays going back to the late 1990s. In the case of Abu Hamza, he was first arrested in 2004.
The development was being discussed on Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday morning when Gardner revealed details of his conversation with the Queen on the matter.
He said the monarch had told him, in a private meeting, how she had been upset that Abu Hamza could not be arrested.
The radical cleric had risen to prominence for his sermons in and around Finsbury Park mosque, which gained wide media attention for their content.
Gardner said the Queen had told him she had spoken to a former home secretary about the case.
In a statement, the BBC said: “This morning on the Today programme our correspondent Frank Gardner revealed details of a private conversation which took place some years ago with the Queen.
“The conversation should have remained private and the BBC and Frank deeply regret this breach of confidence. It was wholly inappropriate. Frank is extremely sorry for the embarrassment caused and has apologised to the Palace.”
A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace said it would “never comment on private conversations involving any member of the Royal Family”.
The Home Office also said it would not comment on such conversations.
Labour MP Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said it showed “how deeply concerned” the Queen is for the “welfare of her subjects”.
He told BBC News: “It’s good that she has mentioned this to the home secretary and absolutely appropriate.”
But campaign group Republic has accused the BBC of revealing details of the Queen’s interest in the case to put her “on the right side of public opinion”.
“The decision to disclose this one conversation while keeping all else secret smacks of a deliberate PR stunt to put the Queen on the right side of public opinion,” the group said.
Abu Hamza and four other men accused of terrorism offences had fought against extradition for years, arguing at the European Court of Human Rights that they faced inhumane conditions in the US.
Abu Hamza is wanted over allegations he plotted to set up a terrorist training camp in the US and was involved in kidnapping Western hostages in Yemen. If convicted, he faces life imprisonment.
The case of Babar Ahmad – who, with co-accused Syed Talha Ahsan, is alleged to have run a jihadist website in London that provided support to terrorists – relates to a website run from London which, the US says, supported terrorism overseas.
Supporters of the pair say they should have been prosecuted years ago in the UK because the alleged crimes were committed in London.
Earlier this month, a businessman began the process of launching a private prosecution, saying that British suspects should be tried in the UK, not abroad.
Karl Watkin said: “I do not need a Court in Europe to tell me that an extradition could take place. I say it shouldn’t take place – based on the evidence I’ve seen. The principle is simple, if you are British, and alleged to have done something criminal in this country, then you get prosecuted in this country.
“That’s how the public interest is served. Contrary to reports, my motivation for prosecuting these two men in Britain is to establish this principle.
“Their case has next to nothing to do with America. So I await the DPP’s decision on my prosecution as a matter of urgency. Until then Ahmad and Ahsan should stay where they are.”