Although Babar Ahmad, a 38-year-old British Muslim, has categorically denied allegations of involvement in terrorist-related offences, he remains the longest detained-without-charge British detainee and fights the American government’s attempts to extradite him to the US where he is accused of supporting “terrorism.”
In December 2003, Ahmad was arrested at his home in London and sustained at least 73 forensically recorded injuries. Nevertheless, he was released without charge.
In 2004, Ahmad was re-arrested due to an extradition request from the American government. He is now being held in a special detainee unit at Long Lartin Prison, Worcestershire.
Human rights activists have described British Justice Secretary Ken Clarke’s refusal to permit the broadcast of a televised interview with Ahmad as “disproportionate and irrational.”
The activists maintain that Clarke’s decision is a violation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights that protects freedom of expression.
Furthermore, they argue that a filmed interview would help the public assess Ahmad’s credibility.
Some activists have also raised concerns that Ahmad’s prematurely aged face is the reason why the British government refuses to allow him to be interviewed.
Referring to the ordeal Ahmad has gone through since his arrest, Phillippa Kaufmann QC, appearing for Ahmad, said: “He has aged far more than the number of years that have passed since he was first detained.”