Ahmad returned home in July last year following an unprecedented ruling in which US Judge Janet Hall, chief federal judge of the District of Connecticut, described him as a “good person” who had been a model prisoner and had “never been interested in terrorism.” Judge Hall said “It appears to me that he [Babar] is a generous, thoughtful person who is funny and honest. He is well liked and humane and empathetic… This is a good person who does not and will not act in the future to harm other people.”
Despite the tremendous ordeal he has suffered, Ahmad has no bitterness towards either the British or American authorities but has requested an apology from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. Ahmad is looking forward to sharing his experiences as a means of bringing about greater understanding and trust between different communities.
The BBC Victoria Derbyshire show will be airing Babar Ahmad’s first TV interview on Monday 14 March 2016 at 0915 on BBC2, BBC News channel and online.
Links to 13 March 2016 Observer interviews with Babar Ahmad on Guardian.co.uk
NOTES TO EDITOR:
1. For all press queries, please contact Melanie Riley at firstname.lastname@example.org or message 07775 591 244.
3. Babar Ahmad (born London, England, May 1974) is a British citizen and a Muslim of Pakistani descent, who was released in July 2015 after spending 11 years in prison in the US and Britain. From prison, he fought a public 8-year legal battle, seeking to be tried in Britain. The British Crown Prosecution Service concluded that there was “insufficient evidence to prosecute” him.
4. In 2009, the High Court in London awarded Ahmad £60,000 compensation after the London Metropolitan Police admitted that its officers had subjected him to “serious gratuitous prolonged unjustified violence” and “religious abuse” during his arrest which led to 73 injuries. It was revealed that the officers, who abused Ahmad were also accused of dozens of other assaults on black and Asian men. The revelation lead the Mayor of London Boris Johnson to order an independent review of the case. In 2010, the review led the Crown Prosecution Service to announce that four serving police officers would face criminal charges for assaulting Ahmad. The four officers were acquitted by a jury in June 2011.In October 2015, a London High Court of Justice judge ruled that PC Mark Jones, one of the officers acquitted in the Ahmad case, assaulted and racially abused two Arab teenage boys in another case.
5. In 2011, celebrities and senior British lawyers backed a public campaign which led to 140,000 British citizens signing a UK Government e-petition calling for him to be tried in the UK. His case was subsequently debated twice in the British Parliament. Ahmad was extradited from Britain to the United States in 2012. After spending two years in solitary confinement at a US Supermax prison he pleaded guilty to “conspiracy and providing material support to terrorism”. His offence was allowing two articles supporting the Taliban to be posted on a website about Bosnia and Chechnya that he helped to set up in 1996.
6. In 2014, US federal Judge Janet Hall sentenced Ahmad to an unexpectedly lenient sentence and concluded that Ahmad was never interested in terrorism, stating, “There was never any aid given by these defendants to effectuate a plot. By plot, I mean a terrorist plot … Neither of these two defendants were interested in what is commonly known as terrorism …” She described Ahmad as a “good person” who she believed posed no threat to the public and stated she had weighed the seriousness of his crime with his good character after reading thousands of letters of support and hearing from British prison officials who described him as an exemplary inmate. Judge Hall said “It appears to me that he [Babar] is a generous, thoughtful person who is funny and honest. He is well liked and humane and empathetic… This is a good person who does not and will not act in the future to harm other people.”
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