Who is Talha Ahsan?
Syed Talha Ahsan was arrested at home on 19th July 2006 in response to an extradition request from the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, which does not require the presentation of any prima facie evidence. He is accused in the US of terrorism-related offences arising out of his alleged involvement over the period 1997-2004 with a series of websites, one of which happened to be hosted on a server located in the United States. The US case against Talha Ahsan appears to be based on evidence obtained by the Metropolitan Police during a raid on the London home of Babar Ahmad. Talha Ahsan is a British citizen. He has never visited the US and says that any case against him should be heard in Britain. He denies any wrongdoing. Talha has been held in high security jails in Britain ever since his arrest.
A booklet of Talha Ahsan's poetry, titled "This be the Answer", has just been published. The poems have won praise from novelist A L Kennedy, who read some of them at the booklet's launch in Edinburgh on 27 February.
Talha Ahsan's case is closely related to the case of Babar Ahmad. Babar Ahmad was compensated £60,000 by the Metropolitan Police after a civil case in March 2009 for violent physical and religious abuse during his arrest in 2003 which left him with 73 injuries and bleeding in his ears and urine. Like Talha Ahsan, he denies committing any crime and says that any case against him should be heard in Britain.
Talha has a condition called Asperger's syndrome which has caused him a history of difficulties since childhood. This condition would make it extremely difficult or impossible for him to cope with the shocking change to his circumstances that extradition to the US would involve.
Gary McKinnon, who is facing charges of hacking into US military computer systems in search of evidence relating to UFOs, also suffers from Asperger's syndrome. He is currently on bail awaiting a decision on his extradition to the USA . Long and energetic campaigning by his supporters has won widespread recognition that Gary's extradition would at the very least be inhumane. It seems likely that, one way or another, the British Government will see to it that Gary McKinnon isn't sent to the USA. Of course this can't be taken for granted. Campaigners will need to keep the pressure up. Sending either Gary or Talha to the US would be inhumane. But political leaders have so far shown no sign of extending to Talha Ahsan the sympathy some have shown to Gary. Talha's medical condition must be recognised and taken into account.
Visit the Free Tahla Ahsan website
Take Action - Demand Justice for Tahla
Contact your MP
Contact your MP using www.writetothem.com
Raise the points below in your message to your MP, along with any other points you wish to make. Covering the points below in your own words will be more effective than copying and pasting the contents of this page. Let SACC know what response you get from your MP.
- Explain, very briefly, who Talha Ahsan is (the background in the first paragraph of this page should be enough).
- Ask your MP to urge the Home Secretary to take steps to ensure that Talha Ahsan's diagnosis as an Asberger's sufferer is taken into account in dealing with the extradition request from the United States. Say that you believe that it would be inhumane to send either Gary McKinnon or Talha Ahsan to the US. Say that you believe that steps to deal with this aspect of Talha Ahsan's case should be taken immediately, in parallel with Talha Ahsan's ongoing appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
- Ask your MP to urge the Attorney General to review the failure by the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad. The interests of the British public would be better served, and the defendants rights would be better protected, by prosecution in Britain rather than in the US.
- Tell your MP that you are disgusted that the British Government, in opposing the appeal of Talha Ahsan, Babar Ahmad and others to the European Court of Human Rights, is directly supporting the abhorrent use of long-term solitary confinement in the US. US practice in this regard is well outside acceptable human rights standards. Draw your MP's attention to the Stop Isolation statement. The statement is supported by a wide range of leading legal and human rights figures from around the world. Say that you think that the British Government should drop its opposition to Talha Ahsan's appeal.
Contact the Home Secretary and the Attorney General
As well as contacting your MP, you can raise all the points above with the Home Secretary:
The Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF
and you can raise point 3 above with the Attorney General:
The Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve
Attorney General's Office
20 Victoria Street
London SW1H 0NF
This Be the Answer - Buy the Booklet
This Be the Answer, a booklet of Tahla Ahsan's poetry, is available for £2 plus post and package from Radio Ramadan Edinburgh
Write to Tahla Ahsan
You can write to Talha Ahsan:
Syed Talha Ahsan
HMP Long Lartin