Babar Ahmad, the south London IT worker who has been held in jail for over four years, won a small taste of justice last week. The Metropolitan Police admitted to beating him up in December 2003 and paid him £60,000 in compensation.
But Babar is still fighting attempts to extradite him to the US over allegations of “terrorism” offences. He has been detained without charge or trial since August 2004, when the US demanded he was handed over.
Commenting on the police’s admission, Babar said, “After five years of denial, I am pleased today that the Metropolitan Police has accepted that its officers subjected me to horrific abuse on the night of 2 December 2003.
“I can now put this incident behind me and focus on my fight to prevent my extradition to the US.”
Babar’s wife, Mrs Ahmad, told Socialist Worker that the family hadn’t been expecting the police admission but were pleased that the Met had accepted its liability. However, the Met has still refused to apologise to Babar for his treatment.
Mrs Ahmad said the family’s struggle for justice would continue. “We’re not going to leave it now that Babar’s case is over,” she told Socialist Worker.
“These officers need to be brought to account for what they have done.”
Further allegations of police brutality have now surfaced.
According to court documents, four of the officers involved in the assault on Babar have had 60 allegations of assault made against them, 37 from black or Asian men. One had 23 allegations of assault, 17 from black or Asian men.
The police have confirmed that the six officers who arrested Babar have been the subject of at least 77 complaints since 1992.
The Met claims it has lost several large sacks of mail relating to these complaints. Officers’ notes and interview transcripts have also gone missing.
The officers involved in the brutality allegations are all from the Met’s Territorial Support Group, previously known as the Special Patrol Group (SPG).
The SPG had a history of violence and racism. Thirty years ago SPG officers killed schoolteacher Blair Peach while he was demonstrating against the fascist National Front in west London.
Babar’s case has also dealt a blow to the credibility of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
The IPCC’s lawyers twice refused to bring charges against the officers, claiming there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.
Eventually Babar had to bring a civil case against the Met, which led to last week’s admission.
There were exhaustive medical reports detailing Babar’s injuries at the hands of the police.
One report by a consultant made shortly after his beating found “unequivocal evidence” of Babar being “subjected to a physical and psychological assault by police officers”.
The police assault against Babar started in the early hours of 2 December 2003, when they broke into his home to arrest him. Officers beat him up, forced him into a Muslim prayer position on the ground and taunted him, asking, “Where is your god now? Pray to him.”
He was held in Paddington Green police station for six days before being released without charge. Babar was due to appear at a public meeting in August 2004 to talk about his treatment when he was rearrested.
Despite his victory over the police, Babar is still in grave danger of being shipped to the US and incarcerated there.
Under extradition rules agreed in 2001 by New Labour’s then home secretary David Blunkett, the US can extradite suspects from Britain without having to provide prima facie evidence against them.
Babar is not even allowed to challenge the US’s allegations against him in a British court.
His case is currently being considered by the European Court of Human Rights, and a verdict is expected shortly. The fight for his civil rights – and those of everyone who opposes the West’s bloody record of war and occupation – goes on.