WEDNESDAY 28th NOVEMBER 2007
Babar Ahmad’s lawyers appealed at the High Court today for a hold to be put on the extradition to the U.S whilst he pursues a civil case against the Metropolitan Police. They argued that he would be denied his right to testify if he were to take part in the proceedings from the U.S. This request was refused.
Mr Ahmad was arrested initially on 02 December 2003 under the Terrorism Act 2000 and released without charge seven days later. During his arrest, he was brutally assaulted in front of his wife, by armed police officers. They inflicted upon his body with at least 73 injuries, which were forensically identified by independent medical experts. Two of the injuries were potentially life-threatening. Mr Ahmad was re-arrested in August 2004 to face extradition to the U.S under the much-criticised Extradition Act 2003.
The CPS decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the Metropolitan Police for the assault on Babar Ahmad. Moreover, the Independent Police Complaints Commission recommended an internal tribunal be held to decide whether one of the officers should face disciplinary action. However, to the contrary, the senior police officer who delivered the verdict at the April 2005 internal misconduct tribunal into Babar’s assault said that the officers should be commended for their “bravery”.
Babar Ahmad has launched a civil case against the police and had hoped that the courts would recognise the restrictions he would face from the U.S when testifying. Babar Ahmad’s family said in response to today’s verdict:
“We are disappointed, but not shocked, at the High Court’s decision today. It is an ironic shame that the authorities partake in the torture of an unarmed man and decide to ship him to a foreign country whilst he attempts to seek justice, so that he is forever silenced on the matter.”
Bhatt Murphy Solicitors who brought this challenge for Mr Ahmad expressed surprise that the English courts should be so sanguine about the US authorities’ assurances: “We know that there are significant problems in the US for people charged with terrorist offences trying to prepare their defence. The bald assurances given by the US that they would allow Mr Ahmad to participate in civil proceedings in another country are of little comfort and it is distressing that the English courts should be so apathetic when asked to ensure that a British citizen is able to properly exercise his constitutional rights.”
The European Court of Human Rights is currently examining Babar Ahmad’s extradition case and a result is expected in January 2008.
For further information:
Ms Fiona Murphy (Babar Ahmad’s lawyer for civil case),
Bhatt Murphy Solicitors
27 Hoxton Square ,
London N1 6NN
Telephone: 020 7729 1115
Fax: 020 7729 1117
Free Babar Ahmad Campaign
Photographs of Injuries Inflicted by Police during arrest in December 2003