Babar Ahmad, the British IT worker from south London threatened with being sent to the US to face trumped up terrorism charges, started his High Court appeal against his extradition on Tuesday of this week.
Under the terms of New Labour’s 2003 treaty with the US, British citizens can be extradited to the US without the right to challenge the evidence against them in court.
The US authorities simply have to present a case against someone - no matter how flimsy - and they can be captured and deported to face “justice” in the country responsible for Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and “rendition” to secret torture chambers.
Bilal Patel, spokesperson for the Free Babar Ahmad campaign, spoke to Socialist Worker about the case. “If Babar goes, it opens the floodgates for people to be sent to the US on ‘terrorism’ charges even if no evidence can be found against them here,” he said.
Supporters of Babar demonstrated in solidarity with him outside the High Court in London on Tuesday. Speakers at the rally included George Galloway MP, Yvonne Ridley and former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg.
Babar’s legal team argues that he faces a serious risk of being declared an “enemy combatant” by the US president and could end up transferred to military custody, where he can be detained indefinitely and tried by military commission with no appeal.
The celebrated human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, who has helped expose the brutality of the US military in Guantanamo, will be called as an expert witness in Babar’s defence.
The blatant injustice of Britain’s extradition arrangements with the US were highlighted last week when the High Court upheld a decision to extradite three businessmen to the US.
David Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Darby were set to be sent to the US on Thursday this week to face charges related to the collapse of the US company Enron - even though the British authorities have declined to charge them for the alleged crimes, which all took place in Britain.
For more information on Babar’s case go to www.freebabarahmad.com