Update^ back to top
Babar was extradited in October 2012. Since then he has been held in solitary confinement in a Supermax prison awaiting trial. However, after enduring these conditions for 14 months, he decided to plead guilty to one count of providing material support to ‘terrorists'- he again admitted running websites that called for financial contribution to support the Taliban, moved to assist them and the Muslims in the Chechen war. He was sentenced to 12 and half years by the judge, and the 10 years he had already spent in prison would be credited against that sentence. The judge recognised that the prosecutors were wrong in trying to somehow associate Babar with al Qaida, confirming he had no knowledge of Osama Bin Laden nor of the terrorist atrocities masterminded by Bin Laden's terrorist group, and nor did he support them in any way. Babar is due to be returned to the UK during 2015.
Background^ back to top
Babar Ahmad is the longest serving remand prisoner (ie held awaiting trial) in modern UK history (over 8 years). He was extradited on 5 October 2012.
Initial Arrest^ back to top
Ahmad was first arrested at his Tooting home on 2 December 2003 by UK anti-terrorist police. By the time he arrived in the custody suite of the police station, he had sustained multiple injuries. He was released six days later without charge, and filed a formal complaint that would ultimately result in him being awarded £60,000 in damages by the police for what the Met admitted at the High Court was a "serious, gratuitous and prolonged" attack upon him. Four Metropolitan Police officers were found not guilty of his assault in a subsequent criminal trial in 2011.
Subsequent Arrest and Detention^ back to top
Ahmad was arrested again in London on 5 August 2004 following an extradition request from the US on allegations that he was involved in Azzam.com, a website supporting Chechen and Taliban fighters that shut in 2002. He has been in Category 'A' prison conditions ever since. The 'evidence' supporting the US allegations was the same material that had been reviewed the previous year by the Met, and on which the Crown Prosecution Service declared, in July 2004, that there was 'insufficient evidence' to charge him with any criminal offence under UK law. Yet this UK-based 'evidence', insufficient for a UK charge, was sent to the US prosecutors who inexplicably reached the opposite conclusion.
Extradition Case^ back to top
Nonetheless, on 17 May 2005, Senior District Judge Timothy Workman approved Ahmad's extradition at Bow Street Magistrates Court, stating,
This is a troubling and difficult case. The defendant is a British citizen who is alleged to have committed offences which, if the evidence were available, could have been prosecuted in this country...
On 30 November 2006, Ahmad lost his appeal at the High Court. On 4 June 2007, the House of Lords refused to grant him leave to appeal to them.
On 10 June 2007, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ordered the UK Government to freeze Babar Ahmad's extradition until they had fully determined his appeal. The final decision is expected later this year.
If extradited, he faces the possibility of spending the rest of his natural life in solitary confinement in a maximum security US prison.
- Ahmad is 38 years old. He's British: born in London, lived and worked there. He has spent the last 7 years in various UK jails - the equivalent to a 14 year sentence - yet has not been tried.
Whyis he not being put on trial in the UK?