Babar Ahmad

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For the Anglo-American film director, see Babar Ahmed (director).
Babar Ahmad
Babar Ahmad (5307404675) (1).jpg
Born 1974 (age 39–40)
London, England, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Ethnicity British Pakistani
Citizenship British
Known for Azzam Publications
Home town London, United Kingdom
Religion Islam
Criminal status
incarcerated in the United States

Babar Ahmad (born London, England, May 1974), is a British citizen and a Muslim of Pakistani descent, who is currently in legal detention in the United States of America. Following extradition from Britain, he pleaded guilty to "conspiracy and providing material to support to terrorism". He had previously fought an eight-year legal battle, from prison, to be tried in the UK.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Babar Ahmad was born and brought up in Tooting, London.[2][3] His parents emigrated to Britain from Pakistan in the early 1960s.[citation needed] His father is a retired civil servant and his mother a retired science teacher.[citation needed]

Ahmad was educated at Emanuel School,[citation needed] where he won academic prizes and obtained outstanding results at both GCSE and A-Level. He then went to university and obtained a Master’s[citation needed] degree in Engineering from the University of London.[when?][4][5]

Before imprisonment[edit]

Before his imprisonment in August 2004, Ahmad was working in the IT department at Imperial College, University of London.[6][7][8][9][10] At the time of his arrest, he lived in Tooting.[11] Four police officers are said to have beaten up and mocked Ahmad in a 2003 raid in Tooting. His mugshot from that occasion shows bruising on his face.[12] In 2008, Scotland Yard agreed to pay Ahmad £60,000 in damages after admitting he was subjected to "violent assault and religious abuse."[13][14]

US prosecution of Ahmad and others[edit]

Babar Ahmad was arrested in London on 5 August 2004 on charges of providing material support to terrorism, providing illegal support to the Taliban, money-laundering and conspiring to kill people. An affidavit filed with the US court details that Ahmad used aliases to operate Azzam.com, a website supporting Chechen and Taliban fighters. It further describes that items recovered from a house used by Ahmad included a British Airways Executive Club card in his name and next to it a floppy disk with a password-protected document containing a detailed description of the US Fifth Fleet, its ships, the date and time of its expected passage through the Straits of Hormuz, and that it was vulnerable to attack by "RPG" (rocket-propelled grenades).[15] Ahmad was later indicted by a grand jury of US citizens in October 2004.[16] Another man, Syed Talha Ahsan, was indicted in 2006 of involvement with Ahmad and with the battlegroup information in the document,[17] and thereafter a US former navy seaman, Abu Jihad, was indicted and convicted of passing this information to them.[18]

Under the Extradition Act 2003, the US has to provide evidence sufficient of establishing a "reasonable suspicion" when seeking the extradition of a British citizen. While many complain that this evidentiary standard is lower than the "probable cause" requirement the U.K. is required to show before extraditing a U.S. citizen, a detailed investigation by retired Honorable Sir Scott Barker concluded that the two standards were, in fact, the same. The 488-page report concluded that the evidentiary standards were equal in that "(1) both tests are based on reasonableness; (2) both tests are supported by the same documentation; and (3) both tests represent the standard of proof that police officers in the United States and the United Kingdom must satisfy domestically before a judge in order to arrest a suspect.".[19]

US extradition documents state that "at all times material to the indictment" Babar Ahmad was resident in London. However, the UK Crown Prosecution Service declared in July 2004 and December 2006, as did the UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith in September 2006, that there was "insufficient evidence" to charge Ahmad with any criminal offence under UK law.[20]

Having been refused bail, Ahmad was detained in prison until his extradition on 5 October 2012. On 17 May 2005, Senior District Judge Timothy Workman approved his 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".[21]

In September 2005, Sadiq Khan, Member of Parliament for Tooting, presented a petition of 18,000 signatures to the Home Secretary Charles Clarke asking for Babar Ahmad to be tried in the UK, instead of being extradited.[22] On 16 November 2005, Clarke approved his extradition to the United States.[23]

On 28 November 2005, the UK Parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee raised serious concerns about the one-sided UK-US extradition arrangements and, in particular, the case of Babar Ahmad. In a House of Commons emergency debate on 12 July 2006 about UK-US extradition, several MPs from all parties raised concerns at the case of Babar Ahmad. His name has also been mentioned repeatedly in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords in relation to UK-US extradition.[24] Thousands have attended demonstrations in support of him.[25]

On 30 November 2006, he lost his appeal at the High Court.[26] On 4 June 2007, the House of Lords refused to grant him leave to appeal to them.[27]

On 10 June 2007, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (France) ordered the UK Government to freeze Babar Ahmad’s extradition until they had fully determined his final appeal.

On 24 April 2012, the BBC reported the testimony of a British man convicted of plotting to blow up an aircraft, from the trial of Adis Medunjanin in New York. Saajid Badat was radicalised by Babar Ahmad, who arranged for Badat to receive "training in taking up arms", and that "when we talk about jihad it meant armed jihad, taking up arms". The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Babar Ahmad can be extradited to the US to stand trial on terrorism charges.[28]

On 6 December 2013, the Guardian reported that Babar Ahmed has decided to plead guilty to the charge of providing material support to terrorists.[29]

Police abuse case[edit]

Babar Ahmad was first arrested at his Tooting home on 2 December 2003 by UK anti-terrorist police of 1 Unit 1 Area Territorial Support Group based at the high security Paddington Green Police Station. By the time he arrived in the custody suite of the police station, he had sustained at least 73 injuries, all later documented by both police and independent doctors, as well as in photographic and video evidence.[30]

He filed a formal complaint that was supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). He complained that officers had beaten him with fists and knees, stamped on his bare feet with boots, rubbed metal handcuffs on his forearm bones, sexually abused him, mocked the Islamic faith by placing him into the Muslim prayer position and taunting, "Where is your God now?", and applied life-threatening neck holds to him until he felt he was about to die. Officers denied the claims, saying Ahmad had battled like a "caged tiger" during his arrest, adding his injuries were either self-inflicted or caused by a legal tackle that took him to the ground when he was first detained.[31]

On 10 September 2004, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced that there was "insufficient evidence" to prosecute any of the police officers involved in the attack. However, on 17 January 2005 the IPCC declared that PC Roderick James-Bowen (born 1971) would face internal police disciplinary procedures over the alleged assault.

On 13 April 2005 PC James-Bowen was cleared at a Police Misconduct Tribunal held at Woolwich Crown Court. Metropolitan Police Commander Andre Baker, the President of the Tribunal, stated that PC James-Bowen should be "commended, not castigated... for his great bravery" in arresting Ahmad.[32]

On 18 March 2009, Babar Ahmad was awarded £60,000 compensation at the High Court in London after the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson admitted that he had been the victim of a "serious, gratuitous and prolonged attack".[citation needed]

On 26 March 2009, Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced an inquiry into the Babar Ahmad case with external judicial oversight by retired judge Sir Geoffrey Grigson, to report back to the Metropolitan Police Authority.[33][34]-

On 3 November 2009, following his acquittal in a separate racial abuse trial, 42-year-old PC Mark Jones of 1 Area TSG was named as being involved with the attack on Babar Ahmad.[35][36] The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, announced that he was taking the case "very seriously" while considering whether to prosecute PC Jones and the other officers involved in the alleged assault on Babar Ahmad.[37]

In August 2010 it was announced that Police Constables Nigel Cowley, John Donohue, Roderick James-Bowen and Mark Jones would be prosecuted for their part in the alleged assault on Babar Ahmad.[38] The trial began on Tuesday, 3 May 2011, at Southwark Crown Court, London.[39] On 3 June 2011 they were found not guilty.[40] A recording from an MI5 bug in Ahmad's home did not include any screams of agony and no officers could be heard mocking Ahmad's faith.[41]

Monitoring of MP visit to Ahmad[edit]

On 3 February 2008, the Sunday Times newspaper reported in 2008 that UK anti-terrorist police had covertly bugged prison visits between Babar Ahmad and his local MP, Sadiq Khan, Member of Parliament for Tooting. The bugged conversations took place at Woodhill Prison in May 2005 and June 2006.

This information was reportedly leaked to the press by Detective Constable Mark Kearney, the police intelligence officer who conducted the covert surveillance of the visits, in alleged contravention of the Wilson Doctrine that banned Government surveillance of politicians in 1966.[42]

Following widespread international media coverage of the revelation, the previous Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw MP, announced in Parliament the day after the article was published that he had asked a retired High Court judge, Sir Christopher Rose, to conduct an official inquiry into the affair.[43]

The Rose Inquiry reported back to the House of Commons later in February 2008, stating that the police had done nothing wrong, causing some commentators to dismiss the report as a whitewash.[44][45]

In June 2011, the Houses of Parliament Joint Committee on Human Rights urged the UK government to change the law so that Babar Ahmad’s perpetual threat of extradition is ended without further delay.

Extradition to the United States[edit]

On the 8 July 2010, the European Court of Human Rights of the Council of Europe, at Strasbourg, imposed a temporary stay on the extradition of Ahmad et al. to the United States to face terrorism charges, until the Court was satisfied that he would not be liable or subject inhumane treatment.[46] The Court based its judgment on the European Convention on Human Rights, which is incorporated as the Human Rights Act 1998 in English and British law. In past cases, the ECtHR had ruled to prevent the United Kingdom and the British Government from deporting, extraditing or repatriating terrorism suspects to other countries, where they would be subject or liable to, or where there was a likelihood that they would be subject or liable to, torture, or to degrading or inhumane treatment.

In Babar Ahmad and Others v The United Kingdom and in Abu Hamza (Mustafa Kamel Mustafa) and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department, the legal representatives of the litigants, or the claimants, applicants or petitioners, argued that extradition to a country, where they might be imprisoned for life, with no possibility of release on parole, and where the penal regime is in comparison excessively harsh, amounted also to degrading or inhumane treatment, and that the extradition therefore ought to be refused.[47] The ECtHR, on the 10 April 2012, and the High Court, on the 5 October 2012, however, both ruled that Babar Ahmad, Abu Hamza (Mustafa Kamel Mustafa), et al., could nevertheless be lawfully extradited to the United States to face terrorism charges.[48]

The removal process took place on the evening of the 5 October 2012, when Babar Ahmad was taken from HM Prison Long Lartin, to RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, which is used by the US Air Force, from where he, Talha Ahsan and the three other suspects also wanted for extradition by the American authorities, were placed into the physical custody of the awaiting United States Marshals. They landed in Connecticut on the morning of the 6 October.[49]

On 6 October 2012, Ahmad pleaded not guilty of conspiracy to support terrorists in Afghanistan and the Russian region of Chechnya in a Connecticut court.[50] On 6 December 2013, it was reported that he would change his plea to guilty.[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ bbc.co.uk, Extradited Briton Babar Ahmad admits terrorism offences
  2. ^ http://www.irr.org.uk/pdf/FBA_counter_extraditions.pdf
  3. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/nov/06/babar-ahmad-extradition-fair-trial
  4. ^ https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/117186/public-consultation-2.pdf
  5. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13340734
  6. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17606337
  7. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/1577621/Babar-Ahmad-the-bugging-case-terror-suspect.html
  8. ^ http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/case_docs/311.pdf
  9. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/oct/04/babar-ahmad-extradition
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ http://www.freebabarahmad.com/the-story/who-is-babar-ahmad
  12. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13299606
  13. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/mar/18/babar-ahmed-met-police
  14. ^ http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/04/201241111123768116.html
  15. ^ http://news.findlaw.com/cnn/docs/ahmad/usahmad72804cmp.pdf
  16. ^ NEFA Foundation
  17. ^ ABC News
  18. ^ http://www.jihadwatch.org/2008/03/ex-sailor-hassan-abu-inner-spiritual-struggle-convicted.html
  19. ^ A Review of the United Kingdom's Extradition Arrangements, Presented to the Home Secretary on 30 September 2011
  20. ^ FreeBabarAhmad.com
  21. ^ "Terror suspect facing extradition". BBC News. 17 May 2005. 
  22. ^ Bremner, Charles. "Police bugged Muslim MP Sadiq Khan - The Sunday Times, 03/02/08". The Times (London). 
  23. ^ Pallister, David (17 November 2005). "Clarke under fire as Briton is sent to US on terror charges". The Guardian (London). 
  24. ^ Parliament webpage search 'Babar Ahmad'
  25. ^ "The battle to banish Babar Ahmad". BBC News. 16 November 2005. 
  26. ^ "UK pair lose US extradition fight". BBC News. 30 November 2006. 
  27. ^ Suspect Faces Extradition - Andrew Westbrook, The Asian Image, 14/06/07
  28. ^ BBC News 24 April 2012. US court hears Bin Laden testimony from UK bomb plotter. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17821854
  29. ^ a b The Guardian, Friday 6 December 2013. Extradited British terror suspects to plead guilty in US. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/dec/06/extradited-british-terror-suspects-babar-ahmad
  30. ^ FreeBabarAhmad.com
  31. ^ "Police not guilty of violent assault on terror suspect". Matthew Taylor http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jun/03/police-not-guilty-babar-ahmad
  32. ^ IPCC Role in Babar Ahmad Case - IPCC Website, 19/03/09
  33. ^ MPA full Authority discussion of Babar Ahmad case - Metropolitan Police Authority, March 2009
  34. ^ BBC News | UK | Police Chief Demands Raid Inquiry - BBC News Online, 18/03/09
  35. ^ "PC cleared of race attack was involved in assault on Muslim", Steve Bird, The Times, 4 November 2009
  36. ^ Met police may face charges over violent arrest of terror suspec - Paul Lewis and Matthew Taylor, The Guardian, 09/11/09
  37. ^ "Cops should face criminal charges following Tooting man's assault, family say", Paul Cahalan, Wandsworth Guardian, 13 November 2009
  38. ^ Taylor, Matthew (12 August 2010). "Policemen to face trial for alleged assault on terror suspect Babar Ahmad". The Guardian (London). 
  39. ^ BBC News | Police officers 'attacked' terror suspect Babar Ahmad
  40. ^ "Babar Ahmad police officers not guilty of assault". BBC news (BBC). 3 June 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  41. ^ Police not guilty of violent assault on terror suspect. Matthew Taylor http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jun/03/police-not-guilty-babar-ahmad
  42. ^ "Whistleblower detective 'warned again and again that bug was wrong'", Stephen Wright and Neil Sears, Daily Mail, 6 February 2008
  43. ^ BBC NEWS | UK | Khan welcomes 'bugging' inquiry - BBC News, 03/02/08
  44. ^ Report on Two Visits by Sadiq Khan MP to Babar Ahmad at HM Prison Woodhill, Report of Investigation by the Rt Hon Sir Christopher Rose, Chief Surveillance Commissioner, February 2008
  45. ^ Why was whistleblower in bugging of Muslim MP scandal not quizzed during inquiry? - Benedict Brogan, The Daily Mail, 21 February 2008
  46. ^ Dodd, Vikram (8 July 2010). "Abu Hamza extradition to US blocked by European court". The Guardian (London). 
  47. ^ "Yemen seeks Abu Hamza's extradition.(UPI Top Stories)". UPI News. 29 May 2004. 
  48. ^ Hue, Sylivia. "UK TO EXTRADITE RADICAL MUSLIM CLERIC TO US". AP. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  49. ^ "Abu Hamza among five terror suspects extradited to USA". BBC News. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  50. ^ "Abu Hamza extradition: US court hears terror suspects". BBC. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 

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