Four police officers accused of beating up a terror suspect have all been found not guilty at Southwark Crown Court.

A jury acquitted Pc Roderick James-Bowen, 40, Pc Mark Jones, 43, Pc Nigel Cowley, 34, and Det Con John Donohue, 37, of assaulting Babar Ahmad.

Mr Ahmad, 37, was arrested at his home in Tooting, south London, in December 2003 on suspicion of leading a group which supported al-Qaeda.

Mr Ahmad was never charged in relation to his arrest but is in custody.

He is awaiting extradition to the US for alleged terrorism offences.

Mr Ahmad said he feared he would die in the early morning Metropolitan Police raid.

But jurors rejected claims that the officers attacked him.

After the not guilty verdicts were returned, Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC said he hoped what he described as Mr Ahmad’s “ordeal” would come to an end as quickly as possible, either by his extradition to the US or his release.

Babar Ahmad: Officers not guilty

He said Mr Ahmad had been detained in the UK for a number of years and it was a matter of concern.

Mr Ahmad claims the officers, then all constables in the Met’s Territorial Support Group (TSG), beat him repeatedly, swore at him, mocked his Islamic faith and humiliated him by touching his genitals in an assault that began at his house and continued in a police van and at a police station.

He alleged that one officer grabbed his throat and cut off his breathing.

Mr Ahmad told the court: “He kept squeezing to the point where I thought, ‘This guy is going to kill me. He wants to kill me. I am going to die in the back of this van’.”

But the officers said his injuries were either self-inflicted or caused by a legal tackle that took him to the ground when he was first detained.

The four officers involved in the raid had been told by senior officers to arrest Mr Ahmad.

He was believed to be the leader of an al-Qaeda-linked cell that acted as a conduit to terrorism overseas, providing recruits and logistical support.

Misconduct review

The Metropolitan Police Authority is set to publish an investigation into the incident.

In a statement, the Met Police said the court had heard evidence that did not support Mr Ahmad’s account of events following his arrest.

Acting Commander Carl Bussey, head of the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards, said: “The issues that have arisen out of the arrest have now been ongoing for a long time and undoubtedly this will have been a difficult seven years for all involved.

“Given the result I will now ensure a misconduct review is conducted immediately so that the officers can be given a decision as soon as possible and this matter finally brought to a conclusion.”


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