The new documentary Extradition has been launched around the UK, highlighting the predicament of two British citzens facing the threat of extradition to the US. The film will be shown in Edinburgh on Monday 25 June and in Glasgow on Wednesday 27 June - details below.
Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad are at the centre of one of the most controversial terrorism cases in British history. Over 140,000 people signed a petition last year supporting Babar Ahmad's wish to be tried in Britain, not the US. The petition triggered a debate in the House of Commons last December, with MPs agreeing that Britain's extradition laws need to change. The Government has so far done nothing to change them.
Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad are accused in the US of "terrorism" because of websites they allegedly ran from Britain. Neither of them has been charged with any offence in Britain. But they have been in jail for eight and six years respectively, interned for exercising their right to challenge their extradition in the courts. They are fighting their legal battle with their hands tied behind their backs, because Britain's extradition treaty with the US gives them no right to challenge, or even to see, the US evidence against them.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled on 10 April that Babar and Talha can be extradited to the US, even though they are likely to be held for years in solitary confinement if convicted there. Most international experts, including the UN's Special Rapporteur on Torture, believe that this kind of treatment violates the UN's Declaration of Human Rights.
The ruling will become final on 10 July unless the men request a referral to the court's Grand Chamber – a panel of 17 judges. Their lawyers are working to make the strongest possible argument for a referral. But there is no guarantee that the court will allow the case to go forward to the Grand Chamber. If it refuses, there will be nothing to stop Babar and Talha being sent to the US – unless Britain's Director of Public Prosecutions decides, finally, to put them on trial in Britain. That's all they've ever asked for.
The Extradition documentary showcases the unfairness of Babar and Talha's predicament but also shows the human suffering of the two men and their families. Directed by Turab Shah, it features interviews with Gareth Peirce, Talha’s Brother Hamja Ahsan, playwright Avaes Mohammad, and the fathers of Babar and Talha, framed by Talha’s prison poetry.
Time is running out for Babar and Talha. Their best hope is that people in Britain take them to their hearts and speak loudly in their favour.
Extradition - Scottish screenings
Film showing followed by panel discussion
Mon 25th June 2012
6:30pm to 7:45pm
Macdonald Rd Library (corner of Macdomald Rd and Leith Walk), EH7 4LU
Speakers include Hamha Ahsan (brother of Tahla Ahsan).
Supported by SACC, Muslim Women's Association of Edinburgh, Radio Ramadan Edinburgh.
Wednesday 27 June
7.30pm, Centre for Contemporary Arts, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Galsgow G2 3JD
Speakers include: Hamja Ahsan (brother of Talha Ahsan), Aamer Anwar (lawyer), Richard Haley (SACC). Chaired by Jock Morris (Chair, Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees).
Meeting organised by SACC