Socialist Worker

Don’t let my brother face US-style justice

A new documentary will cast light on the treatment of British political prisoner Babar Ahmad, his sister, Dr Ahmad, explains

Issue No. 1935

Demonstration to free Babar Ahmad, August 2004

Demonstration to free Babar Ahmad, August 2004


JUST WHEN I thought it could not get any worse, I got news this week of another cover-up in the case of my brother, who is threatened with extradition to the US under trumped up “terrorism charges”. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) announced on Monday a decision to formally discipline just one of the several Anti-Terrorist Branch police officers who arrested Babar on 2 December 2003.

The family question the timing of this decision—a week prior to a documentary on Babar’s case to be shown next Wednesday, 26 January. We feel it is a cynical ploy to create a scapegoat out of one officer to spare others from blame.

Babar was dragged from his bed at 5.30am when he was arrested and suffered injuries which an independent doctor later described as potentially “life-threatening”. The authorities have consistently refused to accept the truth of what happened and have since changed their version of events on four occasions. First they said in court that Babar’s injuries were old. Then they said “some” of the injuries were old. Then they claimed Babar kicked, punched and violently resisted arrest—even though the officers were armed and witnesses to the arrest say he was completely passive.

Now they are saying the injuries were not old and some of the officers used excessive force. The police say their officers acted as they did because they believed Babar was a highly dangerous terrorist who trained in Al Qaida camps.

How can that be so when they released him six days afterwards, after providing no evidence at all to back up those allegations? We have other questions arising out of this latest statement by the IPCC.

If Babar violently resisted arrest, why was he not charged with assaulting the police? Where is the medical evidence of any injuries sustained by the police officers? Why did three independent witnesses (neighbours) inform the investigation that they did not witness any struggle? Why did the IPCC ignore the opinion of Dr Manolis Gavalas, an independent medico-legal expert who examined Babar? We are demanding an urgent, independent public inquiry and will not settle for someone just receiving a disciplinary slap on the wrist.

Meanwhile Babar is fighting extradition to the US following his re-arrest in August last year. People may find this hard to believe, but under the extradition treaty the government has signed with the US we are not allowed to challenge any of the claims the US authorities put forward in court.

So we are not allowed to point out that the tourist map of New York, that supposedly is evidence of Babar planning to blow up the Empire State Building, belongs to our father from his trip to the US in the 1970s. We are not allowed to show that Babar was on holiday, with no access to a computer, when he is supposed to have sent incriminating e-mails. All we are allowed to do is challenge the extradition on the grounds that Babar’s human rights will be ignored if he is sent to the US. The evidence of torture at Guantanamo Bay should leave no one in any doubt that that would be the case.

We are going to resist that and fight for justice for Babar. We have been born and brought up here. Babar works at Imperial College. I am a doctor in the NHS. Our father worked as a civil service worker. We would ask everyone to support the campaign to free Babar, as growing numbers of people have already done.

What you can do

  • Tell everyone you know about next week’s documentary, Terror Suspect’s Dad, 10pm, BBC2, Wednesday 26 January (look out for schedule changes).
  • Make sure someone in your union branch, Stop the War group or other group videos it to show at future events.

  • Contact the campaign to free Babar Ahmad and to stop political terror. You can affiliate and get campaign material. Have petitions and information available especially for use at work the day after the documentary.
  • Go to www.freebabarahmad.com or www.stoppoliticalterror.com or phone 07963 537 779. The campaign was set to join a protest outside Downing Street on Thursday of this week at 6pm.


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News
Sat 22 Jan 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1935
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