2. Write to your MP
3. Sample Letter
Following tremendous pressure from members of the public, the Parliament’s Backbench Business Committee have now scheduled a full debate on extradition with a vote to take place in the main chamber of the House of Commons where all MPs can attend. The debate will take place on Monday 5 December 2011.
Although disappointingly the motion does not specifically mention Babar Ahmad’s case by name, it does present a unique opportunity for MPs to attend the debate and vote in favour of changing the law such that it will prevent the extradition of Babar and others facing extradition.
The Free Babar Ahmad (FBA) Campaign commends supporters who have worked tirelessly in recent months, not only in encouraging others to sign the petition but in also lobbying their MPs and the Backbench Business Committee to list the matter for a full debate. Had it not been for your action, this may all have ended last Thursday 24 November in Westminster Hall.
2. Write to your MP
We are requesting all campaigners to write to their Member of Parliament as a matter of urgency (please mark the email URGENT in the subject line) and ask them to do the following:
a) Attend the debate in Parliament on Monday 5 December 2011;
b) Dedicate their speech to discussing the case of Babar Ahmad and requesting that any changes in the law will also affect all pending cases.
c) Vote in favour of the motion.
Some or all of the following points should be made to support your argument:
• Babar Ahmad has been detained for over 7 years without trial and is the longest detained-without-trial British citizen in the modern history of the UK.
• Babar is held under the UK’s controversial Extradition Act 2003 which allows British Citizens to be extradited to the U.S for alleged offences that took place in Britain. The CPS recently admitted that it never reviewed all the evidence against Babar before it was sent to the US authorities. Yet it has repeatedly refused to charge Babar Ahmad in the UK with any criminal offence whatsoever.
• Over 141,000 people have signed an e-petition calling for Babar to be put on trial in the UK rather than extradited to the US.
• In June 2011, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights called for the UK’s extradition laws to be changed to prevent the extradition of Babar Ahmad and others in circumstances where the domestic authorities had decided not to prosecute them.
• In June 2011, the Recorder of Westminster, Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC, said about Babar Ahmad’s case, “I express the hope that the ordeal of a man in detention in this country for a number of years without trial is brought to an end as soon as possible…”.
• The petition to put Babar on trial in the UK has also been supported by a leading lawyers, academics and celebrities. Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC stated recently that it would be “monstrous and scandalous to extradite Babar Ahmad to the US”.
• There are a number of other British citizens facing extradition to the US under the same Treaty including Gary McKinnon, Christopher Tappin, Richard O’ Dwyer, and Talha Ahsan. Two of those pending extradition have, like Babar Ahmad, also been detained without trial for 5-6 years. The alleged criminal conduct in all these cases is said to have taken place in the UK, yet the domestic authorities have not prosecuted them.
• Sir Scott Baker, who led the government-appointed panel to review the extradition laws, recently stated in a public meeting on extradition that the government has the power to apply any changes in the law retrospectively so that they affect pending cases such as Babar’s.
We encourage supporters to prepare their own letters using the above points. A sample letter is below for your convenience but a personalised letter always carries more weight.
You can find your MP’s email by entering your postcode here: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
To help us track which MPs have been contacted, kindly send a copy of your correspondence and any replies received to firstname.lastname@example.org
3. SAMPLE LETTER
Dear [INSERT MP NAME]
It has come to my attention that a debate on reforming our extradition laws to strengthen the protection of British citizens is to take place on Monday 5 December 2011. As your constituent, I am writing to request that you attend this debate and vote in favour of the motion that calls for a reform of the extradition laws in line with the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Human Rights.
The UK-US Extradition Treaty 2003 is imbalanced and allows British citizens accused of crimes allegedly committed in the UK to be extradited to the US without the US authorities having to demonstrate a prima facie case. A wide range of people from different backgrounds have found themselves ensnared by the Treaty including corporate bankers, terror suspects and alleged computer hackers.
I would like you to speak at the debate and call for any changes in the law to apply to pending cases as well. It would appear immoral to allow individuals to be extradited under a Treaty which is subsequently agreed by our parliament to be so unfair such that it requires amendment. I understand that Sir Scott Baker recently said at a public meeting on extradition that the government has the power to ensure that any amendments made to the law can have retrospective effect.
In particular, I want you to mention the case of Babar Ahmad, the longest detained-without-trial British citizen in the modern history of the UK. I was one of over 141,000 people who recently signed an e-petition calling for Babar Ahmad to be put on trial in the UK rather than extradited to the US. As it was this enormous pressure that has assisted to secure this full debate, it is only right that his case be specifically discussed by parliamentarians. You should note the following:
• Babar has been in prison for over 7 years without trial. He has already served the equivalent of a 14 year sentence.
• All the allegations against him are said to have taken place in the UK.
• The JCHR called for the UK’s extradition laws to be amended to prevent the extradition of Babar and others in circumstances where the domestic authorities had decided not to prosecute them.
• The CPS has admitted that it never reviewed all the evidence against Babar and others before sending it to the US authorities. Yet it has repeatedly refused to charge Babar in the UK with any criminal offence whatsoever.
• If extradited to the US, Babar faces up to three years pre-trial detention in solitary confinement and if convicted, faces life imprisonment without parole in a Supermax detention facility, the conditions of which are so severe that the UN Committee on Torture described it as amounting to torture.
I urge you, as my elected voice in parliament, to attend this important debate and vote in favour of changing the extradition laws such that they offer greater protection to British citizens such as Babar.
Please respond to me with a copy of any correspondence or representations that you make regarding this matter.
Free Babar Ahmad Campaign