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Days imprisoned so far: 3649

04-Oct-2012: Babar Ahmad and Syed Ahsan private prosecution rejected

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A second bid to bring a private prosecution against two suspected terrorists to keep them in the UK has been rejected by a district judge.

 

Anti-extradition campaigner Karl Watkin wanted to prosecute Babar Ahmad and Syed Ahsan for solicitation to murder.

 

But district judge Howard Riddle, sitting at Westminster Magistrates' Court, refused the application.

 

He said it was "an abuse of the process of the court" and it was "not in the interests of justice".

 

Mr Riddle, the chief magistrate, said: "I am satisfied that the purpose of these proposed proceedings is to stop or delay extradition of the two named proposed defendants to the USA.

 

"The application is made many years after the events complained of. It appears to have the co-operation and support of the proposed defendants themselves. It comes as almost all other ways of resisting extradition have been exhausted."

 

Patrick O'Connor QC, representing Mr Watkin's legal team, later told the High Court there would be no appeal over this decision.

 

Separately, Mr Ahmad and Mr Ahsan are among five men asking judges to grant injunctions against their extradition to the US where they are wanted on terror charges.

 

The High Court bid comes after the European Court of Human Rights last week gave its final approval for their extradition.

 

The High Court is hearing final legal arguments against extradition on Thursday morning, with a judgement in the case expected on Friday.

 

'Outsourcing justice'

Businessman Mr Watkin, who is based in Newcastle and has interests in China and Australia, had already lost a previous bid to privately prosecute Mr Ahmad and his co-accused Mr Ahsan.

 

His lawyers had asked for Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer's permission for a private prosecution under terrorism laws.

 

But Mr Starmer turned down the application saying in a statement that the documents provided by Mr Watkin were "very short, lack any meaningful detail and do not provide any real support for a prosecution".

 

Mr Watkin had said he was calling for a UK trial because the alleged crimes had taken place in the UK and the Crown Prosecution Service had not acted. He said 149,000 people had signed a petition to Parliament about the case.

 

He said Mr Starmer's decision "smacks of a determined effort to extradite both these men" and said their cases were worlds apart from that of convicted terrorist Abu Hamza al-Masri.

 

"The public will decry this decision as it supports a trial of British men thousands of miles from Britain, where the alleged crime was committed simply because in the DPP's opinion, the evidence is too weak to prosecute here," he said.

 

"If that's not outsourcing our criminal justice system, I don't know what is."

 

Mr Ahmad has been held in a UK prison without trial for eight years after being accused with Mr Ahsan of raising funds for terrorism.

 

The pair are fighting extradition along with radical cleric Abu Hamza, who is accused of planning a terror training camp in the US and assisting hostage-taking in Yemen, and Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled al-Fawwaz, who are accused of being aides to Osama Bin Laden in London.


SOURCE: BBC News

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