‘Tartan Terrorist’ escapes extradition to United States

The trial took place at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: TSPL
The trial took place at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: TSPL
Have your say

A notorious Scottish separatist will not be extradited to the US to face bomb threat charges because of his failing health, a court has ruled.

Prosecutors in the US wanted ‘Tartan Terrorist’ Adam Busby arrested and brought to America to face trial over claims he threatened to blow up the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.

The founder of the Scottish National Liberation Army had been indicted on charges of emailing 40 bomb threats to buildings in Pittsburgh in 2012, including the university and the city’s federal court house.

READ MORE: Tartan Terrorist appeals against Ireland extradition

The emailed bomb threats resulted in more than 100 evacuations at the university and cost more than £183,000 in extra security and baggage checks.

However the 71-year-old, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and now resides in a care home, has been deemed unfit to stand trial.

Following an extradition hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Sheriff Frank Crowe ruled that Busby, referred to in court documents as ‘SN’, should not be extradited.

Sheriff Crowe said: “The circumstances are exceptional and the proposed proceedings relate to an individual who has been well known to the criminal authorities in this jurisdiction for many years.

“SN suffers from a degenerative condition for which there is no cure. He was diagnosed with the condition in 2009, was assessed as being unfit for court proceedings by various medical practitioners in 2015 since when there has been a further deterioration in SN’s condition and powers of communication.

“To have granted the warrant would simply have been to authorise a charade, well knowing in light of the unchallenged reports produced to me that his condition is such that it would be unjust and oppressive to extradite him in view of his physical and mental condition.

“Accordingly I have exercised my discretion not to issue a warrant for the arrest of SN. It is quite clear that seeking to issue

a warrant in the present circumstances, given SN’s poor and precarious health, would place those seeking to enforce such a warrant in an invidious, impractical and frankly impossible position.

“The assurances given by the Requesting Authority are quite proper in the circumstances but it is seems clear a similar finding of unfitness inevitably would be made, were it possible and practicable to arrange the transfer of SN to the United States of America. It follows that SN is discharged from this process.”

The court heard Busby, of Paisley, Renfrewshire, was now bed bound and required full nursing care for all aspects of daily living.

A prolific hoaxer, Busby was jailed for four years in 2010 by an Irish court for sending emails claiming flights from London to New York City had explosives on board.

He was due to face terror charges in 2015 at the High Court in Glasgow for making hoax bomb threats and threatening to poison water supplies but was ruled unfit to stand trial.

He fled from Scotland to Ireland in 1980 after orchestrating a series of minor terror attacks in Scotland against military sites, oil companies and high-profile public figures using primitive letter bombs.

He used his base in Dublin to organise further hoaxes involving alleged anthrax weapons and fake bombs, and real attacks including incendiary devices in parcels, by influencing other hardline nationalists in Scotland and England.

The SNLA’s targets included Lady Thatcher, Douglas Hurd, Cherie Blair, the Prince of Wales, Prince William and former Scottish first minister Jack McConnell. No-one was injured.