Nine years ago today, officers from the Metropolitan Police broke down the door of Babar Ahmad’s house in a pre-dawn anti-terror raid. The officers proceeded to assault Babar, inflicting no less than 73 injuries on him. Despite the Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police admitting in the High Court that his officers carried out “a serious, gratuitous and prolonged attack” on Babar in the manner he described, a jury found all four officers charged with the assault ‘not guilty’.
More sinisterly, the officers never showed the material they seized from Babar’s home to the Crown Prosecution Service, instead secretly passing it to their American counterparts. Babar was never charged by the CPS but found himself under arrest 8 months later under an extradition request from the US based primarily on the same material which had not been disclosed to the CPS. Babar subsequently spent 8 years and 2 months detained without trial in the UK before being extradited to the US on 5 October 2012. He is now in 23 hour solitary confinement awaiting trial which is expected to take place in October 2013.
Ashfaq Ahmad, father of Babar Ahmad, stated:
“This date is always a painful memory for our family as it marks the beginning of a lengthy ordeal during the course of which we have suffered tremendously. It is of great consolation to us to know that the efforts of our supporters were not in vain and were instrumental in persuading the government to reform the extradition laws. We could not prevent Babar’s extradition but hopefully others will now not have to suffer as we have. ”
For further information, visit www.freebabarahmad.com or telephone 07930382972.
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Notes to Editors:
1. Babar Ahmad was extradited on 5 October 2012, having been detained without trial since August 2004 following an extradition request from the US. He is currently being detained in pre-trial 23 hour solitary confinement. His trial is scheduled to take place in October 2013. A complete timeline of Babar Ahmad’s case from the moment he was arrested on 2 December 2003 can be viewed at http://www.freebabarahmad.com/the-story/timeline.
2. On 24 September 2012, the European Court of Human Rights rejected Babar Ahmad’s request for appeal against extradition to be referred to the Grand Chamber, ruling that there would be no violation of his rights if he were to be extradited to the United States.
3. On 5 October 2012, the High Court refused Babar Ahmad’s application for permission to judicially review the Director of Public Prosecution’s decision not to prosecute him in the UK. He was flown to Connecticut, USA within hours. He is currently being held in solitary confinement in US custody as he awaits trial tentatively scheduled for October 2013.
4. The DPP made his initial decision not to prosecute Babar Ahmad in July 2004 stating that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him in the UK. On 22 November 2011, the Crown Prosecution Service admitted for the first time that it had never actually reviewed the bulk of the material seized from Babar Ahmad’s home, it having been withheld from the CPS and transferred by the Metropolitan police to their American counterparts.
5. In March 2012 and June 2012, detailed representations were made to the DPP in relation to the case to prosecute Babar Ahmad in the UK in light of the developing prosecutorial policy of the DPP, supported by reference to the material that the police had sent to the US. On 7 September 2012, British businessman Karl Watkin sought the DPP’s permission to privately prosecute Babar Ahmad in the UK and submitted a bundle of evidence to the DPP including signed statements by Babar Ahmad of his involvement with the websites in question.
6. On 1 October 2012, the DPP refused to give permission to Mr Watkin to prosecute Babar Ahmad and further stated that on reviewing the material submitted in March 2012 and June 2012, there remained “insufficient evidence” to sustain a realistic prospect of conviction to warrant prosecution.
7. In 2005, District Judge Timothy Workman, then the most senior extradition judge in the UK, said about Babar Ahmad's case. "This is a difficult and troubling case. The defendant is a British Citizen who is alleged to have committed offences which if the evidence were available, could have been prosecuted in this country."
8. A full parliamentary debate on urgently reforming British extradition laws took place on 5 December 2011 with the motion being passed without a vote. The debate came as a result of an e-petition to put Babar Ahmad on trial in the UK securing almost 150,000 signatures within 3 months. The e-petition can be viewed at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/885 .
9. On 22 June 2011, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights explicitly raised concerns over Babar Ahmad's case in its report in 'The Human Rights Implications of U.K extradition policy' and recommended that the government urgently re-negotiate the UK- US extradition of individuals in Babar Ahmad's position.
10. During his arrest in London in 2003, Babar Ahmad sustained over 73 injuries. In March 2009, the Metropolitan Police admitted carrying out this abuse and paid him £60,000 compensation. Four police officers later stood trial over this attack but were found not guilty.