Socialist Worker

Tourist brochure could lead to Guantanamo

Ashfaq Ahmad, father of British hostage Babar Ahmad, made this statement at last week’s European Social Forum.

Issue No. 1924

Not so long ago British hostage Ken Bigley was killed. His brother Paul said that the British government was responsible for his death.

The same people responsible for Ken Bigley’s death are holding my son hostage since kidnapping him in August 2004.

In December 2003 my son, Babar Ahmad, was arrested by British anti-terrorist police at his south London home.

He was beaten, tortured and brutalised, suffering over 50 injuries including bleeding in his ears and urine. Photographic and medical evidence is available.

The police ransacked my family’s homes, causing one member of the family to have a miscarriage due to the trauma of the ordeal.

Babar was held for six days whilst police searched for evidence of criminal activity.

No such evidence was found and he was released without charge.

On 5 August 2004, the day his complaint was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service, Babar was kidnapped on his way home from work, by British police acting on the orders of the US government.

Various newspapers have also claimed that my son was plotting something against the Empire State Building.

Their “evidence” to support this is a 1970s tourist brochure of the building.

I would like to mention that firstly, it was not found in my son’s residence, as reported, and secondly, that the brochure belongs to me. I was the one who visited the Empire State Building in 1973.

Unfortunately, our legal team have told us that under the new 2003 Extradition Treaty between the UK and the US, we are not allowed to contest any so called “evidence” against my son as a bar to the extradition.

The fact that my son has been permanently resident in Britain since his birth here 30 years ago is irrelevant.

My son still does not face any charges in the UK, although the British and international media has already declared him guilty of the US allegations.

He faces life imprisonment in America and physical, mental and sexual abuse in the manner of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.

I end with a quote from foreign secretary Jack Straw on the death of Ken Bigley:

“To kidnap a man, subject him and his family to the agony of prolonged uncertainty, and then to murder him, and in this way, is inhuman.”

I served the British government as a civil servant for over 20 years of my life.

Is the way my family and I have been treated any less “inhuman” than this?

Write to Babar Ahmad MX5383, HMP Woodhill, Milton Keynes MK4 4DA


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Sat 23 Oct 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1924
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