Socialist Worker

Four riot cops face charges over attack on Babar Ahmed

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2215

Four of the Metropolitan Police’s riot squad will appear in court next month to answer charges of actual bodily harm against Babar Ahmed, a south London IT worker.

The Crown Prosecution Service has rejected the Met’s claim that there is not enough evidence to prosecute—and, for once, decided to go ahead with the case.

Babar Ahmed was injured during a dawn raid on his home in Tooting, south London on 3 December 2003.

The police officers, from the notorious Territorial Support Group (TSG), are accused of a “serious, gratuitous and prolonged” attack, which included racist abuse.

This is how the attack was described in court in March 2009, when the Met were forced to pay £60,000 damages to Babar after they admitted he had been the victim of violence.

The attack resulted in heavy bruising and scratches to Babar’s face, neck, arms and legs. His solicitors say he was handcuffed and dragged by the neck. He was also forced into a prayer position when an officer shouted, “Where is your god now?”

The TSG officers—Nigel Cowley, John Donohue, Roderick James-Bowen and Mark Jones—will appear before City of Westminster magistrates on 22 September.

Mark Jones has been in court before. He was accused, along with other TSG officers of beating and racially abusing two Muslim teenagers in the back of a police van. He was acquitted.

The TSG were thrown into the spotlight again during the G20 demonstrations in April last year, while they attacked and kettled protesters.

The violence of the TSG on that day is linked to the death of Ian Tomlinson, a bystander trying to make his way home.

Babar Ahmed’s solicitors released a statement from him, saying, “I am pleased ... it will now be for the jury to determine whether any police officer should be punished for the assault upon me.”

Babar Ahmed has been held in Long Lain prison for six years. He is fighting extradition to the US on terror charges which he denies.

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Tue 17 Aug 2010, 18:05 BST
Issue No. 2215
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