About time the Queen stepped in and tried to get things sorted .
The BBC has apologised to the Palace after it revealed the Queen asked the Home Secretary why extreme cleric Abu Hamza had not been arrested for his vile preaching in Britain.
Security Correspondent Frank Gardner said the Monarch told him she was so ‘upset’ by the content of his hate sermons, she contacted a senior minister to ask ‘why is he still at large?’
The Monarch’s intervention was revealed today as the hook-handed criminal lost his final appeal against extradition to the United States.
She ‘was upset that her country and its subjects were being denigrated by this man who was using this country as a platform for his very violent, hateful views,’ Mr Gardner said.
But within hours the BBC issued a grovelling apology in a letter to the Palace, admitting their reporter’s revelations from a private conversation with her was an ‘entirely inappropriate’ thing to do
Admission: The Queen asked why Abu Hamza, whose vile sermons outside the Finsbury Park Mosque earned him global notoriety, had not been arrested – but the BBC has apologised for revealing her views
The Queen’s political views are meant to be confidential and all conversations with her would nearly always be ‘off the record’.
When asked on the Today programme this morning how he knew of he views, Mr Gardner said: ‘She told me’.
Apology: Security correspondent Frank Gardner revealed the conversation with the Queen but later apologised to the Palace after admitting it should have been kept private
Her upset over Hamza’s freedom was because the security services, including MI5, had wrongly dismissed the hate preacher as a ‘noisy troublemaker’ rather than a man bent on inciting violence.
In the years before his arrest in late 2004 he preached to encourage Jihad in the UK and called Britain a ‘toilet’ – despite claiming huge sums in benefits from the state.
‘The Queen was pretty upset that there was no way to arrest him,’ Mr Gardiner said.
‘She couldn’t understand – there was surely some law he had broken. Well in the end, sure enough, she was right. He was eventually convicted and jailed for seven years for soliciting murder and racial hatred.
‘She spoke to the Home Secretary at the time and said my goodness, why is he still at large?
‘He was conducting these radical activities and he called Britain a toilet, he was incredibly anti-British and yet he was sucking up money from this country for a long time and was a huge embarrassment to Muslims – who condemned him.’
Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the claims and the BBC has since issued a full apology for revealing the Queen’s intervention.
‘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,’ a BBC spokesman said.
‘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.’
Worshippers: Hamza (pictured centre, wearing blue)preached hate on the streets of Britain
Lawrence Whitehouse, whose wife was killed when they were both taken hostage in a kidnapping organised by Abu Hamza in Yemen in 1998, has also added credibility to the claims.
Extradition: Current Home Secretary Theresa May has pledged to get Hamza out of Britain within weeks
He said: ‘My wife was awarded an Australian bravery medal. We went to a ceremony where she spoke quite authoritatively and knowledgeably on the the events leading to my wife being killed.’
Abu Hamza had been in contact with the kidnappers via satellite telephone from the Finsbury Park mosque in north London, which he radicalised.
Mr Whitehouse was used, with his wife, as human shields by their kidnappers.
Yesterday’s ruling by the European Court of Human Rights brings an end to a legal saga which has lasted eight years and cost the taxpayer more than £1million.
Delighted Home Secretary Theresa May wants Hamza – viewed as one of the world’s most dangerous preachers of hate – to now be put on a plane to America ‘as soon as possible’.
His wife, who has leave to remain and their children, who are British, can stay in Britain.
In previous cases, suspects have been booted out within two weeks of losing their last appeal.
Hamza, who earned global notoriety for his fanatical sermons outside the Finsbury Park mosque in North London, is wanted by the US authorities for plotting to set up a jihadi training camp in the state of Oregon.
He and four other alleged terrorists had complained that jail terms of up to 50 years in the US without parole breached their right to be protected from ‘inhuman or degrading treatment’.
In April, the European Court of Human Rights – after two years of hugely expensive deliberation – rejected this argument. But the men were allowed to make a final plea for the grand chamber of the Strasbourg court to re-open the case. Last night, judges also threw this out. There are now no more legal steps they can take in Europe to halt extradition.
They can expect to be placed in immediate custody as soon as they set foot on American soil.
Wanted man: U.S. authorities have called Hamza ‘a terrorist facilitator with a global reach’
The verdict is a relief to the Government, which had feared that the judges would block extradition altogether, forcing it to release Hamza back on to the streets.
Hamza is also accused by the US of conspiring to take Western hostages in the Yemen and funding terrorism.
Also facing extradition are Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan, who are accused of conspiracy to commit terrorist atrocities overseas and supporting terrorist groups, and Khalid al-Fawwaz, who is considered one of the US’s most wanted terrorists suspects.
Hook: Radical muslim clerk Sheikh Abu Hamza allegedly lost an eye and had both hands blown off by a mine in Afghanistan
Al-Fawwaz, allegedly a close associate of Osama bin Laden, was arrested in connection with bomb attacks on two US embassies in east Africa which killed more than 260 people in 1998.
The fifth man who can be removed, Adel Abdul Bary, is also wanted in connection with the embassy bombings and has been in prison for 13 years.
The total bill for extraditing the men is estimated to be more than £4million.
Hamza was first arrested at the request of the US in May 2004 but the extradition was halted when the UK decided to charge him on allegations relating to his sermons.
In 2006, he was jailed for seven years for preaching hate and inciting murder at Finsbury Park Mosque. The extradition proceedings resumed once Hamza became eligible for release.
He arrived in Britain more than 30 years ago and has seven children from a second marriage. In the late 1980s, he headed to Afghanistan but returned a few years later having lost an eye and both hands – allegedly blown off by a mine.
Last night, a Home Office spokesman said: ‘The Home Secretary welcomes today’s decision. We will work to ensure that the individuals are handed over to the US authorities as quickly as possible.’