Since my private prosecution against both Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan was announced last week (Briton launches prosecution against terror suspects to prevent extradition, 6 September), I have been more than encouraged by the reaction and messages of support I received for the initiative.
However, while the Guardian’s coverage was well balanced, some of the reporting elsewhere has incorrectly interpreted my motive. Let me be perfectly clear: I have no interest whatsoever in attempting to derail the extradition of the two detainees, save for rendering the whole extradition process void as a result of the pair securing a proper and fair trial in the UK, as should be their right as UK citizens.
My sole focus is the public interest that this case represents. Our criminal justice system should deliver on its duty by ensuring that these two British citizens, alleged to have committed very serious crimes in the UK, are tried and, if appropriate, imprisoned here. The US’s attempt to seek jurisdiction, by dint of the accused’s web servers being “based” in the US, seems tenuous at best. If this is the extent of the claim to prosecute in the US, then as a result we’re all subjected to US law irrespective of our nationality and residence. It is not for the US to deliver universal justice to us all, and such a suggestion should worry us all deeply.
I have no sympathy for terrorists. I can also understand why American justice suits the American psyche. But we are not the 51st state of the union; in the UK, we don’t vote for American presidents, nor for American poodles. Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan are British citizens born and brought up in the UK; they are accused of crimes allegedly committed here. For all these reasons, a domestic prosecution is clearly warranted and a matter of considerable public interest. I look forward to the director of public prosecutions ensuring that the public interest is served.
Newcastle upon Tyne
SOURCE: The Guardian