LAWYERS FOR David Blunkett, the home secretary, will go to court this Friday to ask for a delay before deciding on the extradition of three bankers wanted by the US on fraud charges related to the Enron scandal.
Blunkett’s intervention contrasts with the government’s treatment of Babar Ahmad, who faces extradition to the US on trumped-up charges of aiding terrorism.
Babar has been refused bail and is currently being held in Woodhill prison. He was arrested by British police in a raid a year ago, but released without charge. During his time in custody he was badly beaten up.
Babar’s wife told Socialist Worker, “It’s interesting to see that Mr Blunkett has asked for an extension in the Enron case.
“He has a lot of things on his mind at the moment, so maybe he’s too busy to give a full and thought out decision!”
The three former NatWest bankers—David Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Darby—said they were “pleased that some serious attention will be paid” to their case.
“We hope when it comes to Babar’s case things will be taken seriously too,” said Mrs Ahmad.
She also drew attention to the case of Robert Christopher, a US Marine wanted by Romanian authorities for killing rock star Teo Peter in a road accident.
Christopher failed a breath test straight after the accident in Bucharest last Saturday. But he refused to take a blood test and was spirited out of the country by the US embassy.
“Why don’t they extradite him? He’s killed somebody and my husband hasn’t,” said Mrs Ahmad. “If my husband was working for the US military he’d be entitled to immunity.”
Under the terms of the 2003 Extradition Treaty, US authorities do not have to provide hard evidence against someone they want to extradite from Britain.
Babar’s full case will be heard in March next year. His lawyers will be contesting the extradition on the grounds that he would not get a fair trial.
“I definitely wouldn’t expect a fair trial in the US,” says Mrs Ahmad. “This is the country that created Guantanamo Bay.”
Babar Ahmad wrote this letter to be read out at a demonstration outside Woodhill prison on Sunday 28 November:
“Dear brothers, sisters, campaigners and wellwishers. We very much appreciate all the efforts you have all made and thank you for all your letters of support.
“We commend the efforts of Stop Political Terror, Stop the War Coalition, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities, Respect and the Socialist Workers Party.
“I have received over 1,000 letters of support from Muslims, non-Muslims, men, women and children. People can’t believe that this is happening in 21st century Britain.
“Extremely serious allegations have been made against me. If the government is confident of its so called ‘evidence’, why do they not give me a British judge and jury?
“I have been assaulted, tortured, defamed and held hostage by the country which my father served for over 20 years.
“If this is how they treat British citizens, then how do you treat foreigners? They hold them without charge indefinitely, while their families live in hope that one day their loved ones will return home to them.”
Babar Ahmad, British political prisoner, MX5383, HMP Woodhill Tattenhoe Street, Milton Keynes MK4 4DA. For more information go to www.freebabarahmad.com