by Rory MacKinnon
Human rights charity Liberty said today it was weighing in on British-born Babar Ahmad’s High Court plea to scupper plans to extradite him to the United States – the seemingly final act of a Kafkaesque saga.
Snatched from his Tooting home in a 2004 dawn raid, Mr Ahmad (pictured) stands accused of raising funds for terrorist organisations through websites – operating from London but hosted in the United States – which support Afghan and Chechen fighters.
Crown prosecutors have previously said there was “insufficient evidence” to charge Mr Ahmad with any offence under British law – yet the Home Office can controversially approve extradition to the US without any evidence at all.
Liberty solicitor Emma Norton said her charity had written to sitting judges President of the Queen’s Bench John Thomas and Mr Justice Ouseley to protest against the arrangement – describing Mr Ahmad’s extradition as “outsourcing justice.
“The alleged offences are extremely serious and when people in Britain are accused of having committed crimes in this country, they should be tried here.”
The Met themselves had obtained much of the existing evidence, Ms Norton said, and it was highly likely there had been sufficient evidence to put Mr Ahmad on trial in Britain had Crown prosecutors “properly considered” it.
Supporter Newcastle businessman Karl Watkin had even launched a private prosecution of Mr Ahmad and fellow suspect Syed Ahsan to ensure he was tried in Britain on the available evidence.
But Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer threw out the case earlier on Tuesday, saying Mr Watkin’s application – including statements from the two prisoners – was “very short, lack any meaningful detail and do not provide any real support for a prosecution.”
This week’s ruling could be all that stands between Mr Ahmad and US interrogators after judges in Strasbourg last week cut off his only avenue for appeal in the European Court of Human Rights.
The Home Office said following last week’s ruling it now intended to hand over Mr Ahmad and four others – including radical preacher Abu Hamza – “as quickly as possible.”