The Parliamentary Backbench Business Committee has refused to list the third most popular e-petition for a full House of Commons debate where it could be voted on by MPs; instead the motion has been relegated to form part of a pre-existing discussion on extradition, led by Dominic Raab MP on November 24.
Raab requested a full Commons debate on November 1. He referred to the fact that at that time over 70,000 people had signed the petition to put Ahmad on trial in the UK. The Committee rejected his request in favour of a request for a debate on cheaper fuel on the basis that over 100,000 people had signed an e-petition calling for it.
Over 30,000 more people have now signed the e-petition for Babar Ahmad than that for cheaper fuel.
Ahmad is challenging extradition to the US where he could be jailed for life. His family and campaigners are urging the Director of Public Prosecutions to try him in the UK where the alleged offences occurred.
Ahmad is waiting for a final ruling on his case from the European Court of Human Rights.
The e-petition to put Ahmad has attracted the support of celebrities including boxer Amir Khan and comedian Mark Thomas.
The petition says: “In June 2011, the… Joint Committee on Human Rights urged the UK government to change the law so that Babar Ahmad’s perpetual threat of extradition is ended without further delay.
“Since all of the allegations against Babar Ahmad are said to have taken place in the UK, we call upon the British Government to put him on trial in the UK and support British Justice for British Citizens.”
In a statement to The Muslim News Ahmad’s family said they were “deeply moved” by the level of support adding that “in the midst of a recession, more people have shown Parliament their concern over a British citizen being detained for over seven years without charge or trial, than lowering fuel prices. They deserve nothing less than to have their concerns properly debated and put to a vote.
“Other e-petitions which have secured over 100,000 signatures have been debated in the main chamber of the House of Commons. The decision to treat this e-petition differently is a slap in the face of over 140,500 people who demanded that Babar be put on trial in the UK.
“Now that it is clear that the call to put Babar on trial in the UK has not just cross-party backing but also enormous public support, we believe the correct forum for debate is the main chamber of the House of Commons, where the matter can be subjected to a vote.”