Menneskerettsdomstolen i Strasbourg bestemte torsdag at den radikale imamen Abdul Hamza al-Masri ikke skal utleveres til USA, men få sin sak prøvet enda en gang for domstolen.
Strasbourg-domstolen vil se på om al-Masri og tre andre risikerer for lange fengselstraffer i sikkerhetsfengsler med en for dårlig standard.
Amerikanske tjenestemenn reagerer på dommen.
Al-Masri har vært fengslet siden 2004. Han fikk oppsiktsvekkende nok sju år for å ha pisket opp hat og oppfordret til drap. I USA er han mistenkt for å ha villet opprette en treningsleir for terrorister i Oregon.
Da al-Masris ankemuligheter var uttømt i Storbritannia, vendte han seg til Strasbourg. Det ga resultater. Men hvis domstolen gjør alvor av å sette seg til doms over amerikansk straffelov, kan det få konsekvenser for samarbeidet.
The European court said it wanted to hear further arguments from lawyers for Mr. Hamza and the other three men that they face unreasonably long sentences, possibly running into decades, in American courts. The lawyers have also said that conditions in the maximum-security prison in Colorado where many convicted terrorists are held would breach the men’s human rights.
Legal experts in Britain said it was the first time the European court would consider American prison terms and conditions as human rights issues in themselves, a step that they said could lead to further long delays in Mr. Hamza’s case. Michael Chertoff, a secretary of homeland security under President George W. Bush, called the implications of the European court’s ruling «very troubling.»
In a BBC interview after the court’s ruling was announced Thursday, he said that denying Mr. Hamza’s extradition on the grounds under review by the Strasbourg court would mean that the United States and Europe could «rapidly move into a situation in which it will be very difficult to cooperate across the board» on terrorism cases.