Socialist Worker

Babar Ahmad: ‘No officer has been held to account for this abuse’

Issue No. 2255

Four police officers were cleared last week of assaulting Babar Ahmad during an early morning raid on his home.

A jury acquitted the officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Territorial Support Group of assaulting Babar, who said he was beaten, sworn at and had his Islamic faith mocked during his arrest.

He was arrested in the early hours of 2 December 2003. He said the assault began at his home and continued in a police van and at a police station.

He was forced into the prayer position while officers shouted: “Where is your god now?”

PC Roderick James-Bowen, 40, PC Mark Jones, 43, PC Nigel Cowley, 34, and Detective Constable John Donohue, 37, were found not guilty of attacking Babar after a month-long trial at London’s Southwark Crown Court.

The four officers insisted that his injuries were either self-inflicted or caused by a legal tackle that took him to the ground when he was first detained.

It was revealed during the case that one of the officers, PC Mark Jones, had personally amassed over 30 complaints—and the majority of the complaints against him were of assaulting black or Asian men.

During the trial the jury also heard a recording from an MI5 bug that had been hidden in Babar’s home prior to the arrest. It captured screams, shouts and the sound of glass breaking.

The decision by the jury comes after an admission by Scotland Yard in March 2009 that Babar was subjected to “a serious, gratuitous and prolonged” attack.

The police paid him £60,000 in damages after he brought a personal injury case at the High Court. The jury in this latest case were not told about the civil case.

Babar has issued a statement. “Today’s verdict means that no police officer has been held to account for this abuse,” he said.

“I urge the Metropolitan Police to bring disciplinary proceedings against all officers who were personally involved in the assault—and those who turned a blind eye.”

Babar was never charged in relation to his arrest, but has spent nearly seven years in British prisons awaiting extradition to the US for alleged terrorism offences.

“I was born and bred here, I have lived and worked here and I have no connection to America whatsoever,” he said.

“I should be given a fair trial in Britain.”

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Tue 7 Jun 2011, 18:23 BST
Issue No. 2255
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