Roger Whittaker

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Babar Ahmad

Thursday 3rd March 2005

In the case of Babar Ahmad, which is going on at the moment, the Americans are claiming the right to extradite a British citizen to the United States where he may face military detention or life imprisonment.

Under the Extradition Act of 2003, the validity of which is being challenged in the case, Babar Ahmad cannot challenge the content of the evidence that is being offered in support of the extradition, as the Act does not require the United States authorities to provide prima facie evidence of guilt.

Babar Ahmad was first arrested in December 2003. He claims that he was severely beaten by the police who arrested him, a claim which is supported by photographs which were taken of his injuries immediately afterwards.

After six days he was released without charge, but was re-arrested to face extradition in August last year, after he had complained about the brutality of his arrest.

The suspicion is that he is being punished for his complaints about his treatment as well as being conveniently silenced and taken out of circulation by being handed over to the Americans.

It also seems that the main evidence which in any serious way connects him to terrorism is material in which he expressed his views about certain matters on two web sites.

Some of the other allegations are laughable (for instance that he had planned to destroy the Empire State building, an old tourist brochure of which was found in his father's house when it was raided by the police).

So if the Americans succeed in gaining Babar Ahmad's extradition, it seems to mean that if the US government doesn't like what a British citizen writes, he can be taken to America and put in military custody.

If there is real evidence that he was involved in consipracies to commit terrorist crimes, then one wonders why the British authorirites have not charged him, as such conspiracies would be offences in this country. Various reports of the case have mentioned for instance the idea that he had bought or tried to buy materials which could be used to make explosives, but he has not been charged with this.

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