Babar Ahmad was born in London in May 1974, and, until his imprisonment in 2004, lived in Tooting, South West London. His parents migrated to the UK from Pakistan in the early 1960’s. His father is a retired civil servant and his mother a retired Science teacher.
He went to a reputable public school where he won academic prizes and obtained outstanding results at both GCSE and A-Level. He then went to university and obtained a Master’s degree in Engineering from the University of London. Before his imprisonment in August 2004, he was working in the IT department at Imperial College London.
He is well-known locally in Tooting as a ‘caring and helpful’ member of the community through his years of youth work.
In December 2003 Babar was arrested at his London home under anti-terror legislation. By the time he reached the police station Babar had sustained at least 73 forensically recorded injuries, including bleeding in his ears and urine. Six days later he was released without charge.
Babar then filed a formal complaint that he had been subjected to horrific physical, sexual and religious abuse by the arresting police officers. In March 2009 the Metropolitan Police finally admitted in the Royal Courts of Justice in London that they did indeed carry out the Islamophobic and brutal assault on Babar Ahmad in December 2003. Moreover, they paid Babar Ahmad £60,000 compensation for damages. However, the Metropolitan Police have still offered no apology for the actions of their officers.
In August 2004 Babar was re-arrested in London and taken to prison pursuant to an extradition request from the US under the controversial, no-evidence-required, Extradition Act 2003. The US has alleged that in the 1990s Babar was a supporter of “terrorism”. Babar denies any involvement in terrorism. He has now been in prison for over five years even though he has not been charged in the UK.
Babar’s family, friends and campaigners have mounted a high profile campaign for his release. He appeared in the news when it was revealed that the police had bugged his prison visits with his MP, Sadiq Khan (Labour-Tooting). His final appeal against extradition is at The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, rejected their appeal at the Grand Chamber in September 2012.
A further application to the High Court to judicial review the decision not to prosecute him in the UK was denied on 5th October. He was extradited that evening to Connecticut, USA, where he remains in custody. He has entered a not guilty plea. If convicted he faces the rest of his natural life in solitary confinement in a maximum security US ‘Supermax’ prison.
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