Socialist Worker

Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan sent to face injustice in the US

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2324

Supporters of Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan protesting outside High Court (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Supporters of Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan protesting outside High Court (Pic: Socialist Worker)


The British government extradited Babar Ahmad, Talha Ahsan and three others to the US as terror suspects last week.

A week earlier it had rejected a call to try them in Britain, citing lack of evidence.

Babar Ahmad’s father Ashfaq Ahmad spoke outside the High Court in London after their final appeal was refused on Friday.

“The truth will eventually emerge of what will be forever remembered as a shameful chapter in the history of Britain,” he said.

Babar issued a statement saying, “Today I have lost my eight year and two month battle against extradition to the US. I would like to thank all those over the years who supported me and my family.”

The media has acted as if their case was intertwined with that of their hate figure Abu Hamza. But when they were flown to the US after the court decision this pretence evaporated. Abu Hamza was flown to New York. Babar and Talha were sent to Connecticut.

Babar and Talha were charged with providing terrorists in Afghanistan and Chechnya with cash, recruits and equipment. Both pleaded not guilty. Their next court appearance will take place on 15 October.

The Free Talha campaign said that Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan are being detained at the Northern Correctional Institute, the most secure facility in Connecticut.

Contact

“They are likely to be detained in a single cell and locked down most of the time,” it said. They are also likely to be denied contact with anyone except lawyers and close family. Even those who can visit will not be allowed to report what they say.

If convicted they will be held in “Supermax” prisons where prisoners are kept in isolation for 23 hours a day.

Talha has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, which makes him particularly vulnerable. His brother Hamja has told Socialist Worker, “A lot of people don’t realise that solitary confinement is a form of torture. It is unfair and abusive.”

British authorities have refused to prosecute Babar and Talha in this country because of lack of evidence. Yet the information the US is using to justify the extraditions was supplied to them by the Metropolitan Police.

Socialist Worker was the first newspaper to highlight Babar’s case. He was arrested in 2003 and badly beaten up by Metropolitan Police officers.

In 2009 he won £60,000 after the Met admitted to “grave abuse tantamount to torture”. Despite this the four officers were found not guilty of attacking Babar. Babar was arrested again in 2004 when the US issued a warrant for his extradition. He has been locked up ever since.

Senior police officers authorised the bugging of meetings he held in prison with his MP Sadiq Khan. In 2004 Babar wrote to Socialist Worker saying, “Sometimes I ask myself, ‘Would I have been better off if I was an armed robber or drug dealer?’”


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News
Tue 9 Oct 2012, 17:25 BST
Issue No. 2324
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