TRIAL proceedings against two Tooting men accused of supporting terrorism began this week on US soil.

Babar Ahmad, 38, and Talha Ahsan, 33, had waited years to face charges for crimes they are accused of but hoped it would be in Britain.

Instead, the pair were extradited last Friday night without being given the chance to say goodbye to their families.

The following day they appeared before a federal judge in New Haven, Connecticut, charged with supporting al-Qaeda and other Islamic militant groups, and both pleaded not guilty.

Ahmad and Ahsan’s alleged crimes were in Britain, but an internet server in Connecticut which once hosted their website was the US link on which their extradition was based.

Ahmad’s father, Ashfaq, hit out at the UK Government for what he described as a “blow for British justice”.

He said: “After over 40 years of paying taxes in this country, I am appalled that the system has let me down in a manner more befitting of a Third World country than one of the world’s oldest democracies.

“We will never abandon our struggle for justice and the truth will eventually emerge of what will be remembered as a shameful chapter in the history of Britain.”

Home Secretary Theresa May welcomed the extradition.

She said: “I’m pleased these men, who used every available opportunity to frustrate and delay the extradition process over many years, could finally be removed.

“It is right they will finally face justice.”

The so-called Tooting Two will reappear in court on Monday.

It is believed they are already being held in solitary confinement, though not yet the “extreme isolation” which had been the subject of an appeal they made to the European Court of Human Rights this year.

Hamja Ahsan, Ahsan’s younger brother, will be speaking at an event called Caged In The USA, at the Karibu Education Centre in Gresham Road, Brixton, from 7pm on Thursday.

SOURCE: South London Today

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