ABOUT THE FREE BABAR AHMAD CAMPAIGN
When Babar Ahmad was arrested from his home in the middle of the night on the 2nd of December 2003, a community stood up to the world.
When this campaign went live, people all over Britain, but predominantly from the Muslim community, made songs, videos and appeals to reach the target for a 100,000 petition.
They went door to door and waited outside mosques, hospitals and supermarkets as banners saying “Free Babar Ahmad” appeared on high streets around Britain.
Some people even boarded coaches of British Muslim pilgrims on Hajj to get the signatures.
The petition was completed, and although two Parliamentary debates were held about Babar’s case, he was still extradited to America in 2012, the level of public outrage over the case, as demonstrated by this e-petition, showed the authorities in both the UK and the US that something was just not right about what was happening to Babar.
On the evening of 5 October 2012, Babar Ahmad was taken from HM Prison Long Lartin, to RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, from where he was placed into the physical custody of the awaiting United States officials. He later stated that he was “blindfolded, shackled and forcibly stripped naked” during his extradition. He landed in Connecticut on the morning of the 6 October.
In the US, He spent the next two years in solitary confinement at a US Supermax prison. In December 2013, after his first year in solitary confinement and after being in prison for over nine years without trial, he was finally tried in Conneticut by Judge Janet Hall, who sentenced him to an unexpectedly lenient sentence and concluded that he 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.”
“Eleven years of solitary confinement and isolation in ten different prisons has been an experience too profound to sum up in a few words here and now… In October 2012, I was blindfolded, shackled and forcibly stripped naked when I was extradited to the US.”
He added that “US and UK government officials” had treated him with respect after his release.