Home Secretary postpones decision on Babar Ahmad

The Home Secretary Charles Clarke has asked for an extension until September 2005 for his final decision on the extradition of alleged terror suspect Babar Ahmad to the United States of America.

Mr Ahmad was originally arrested, fully investigated and released without charge by British Authorities in December 2003. He was rearrested on an extradition warrant from the United States in August 2004.

After a Magistrate gave the ruling on 17th May that Mr Ahmad could be extradited to the U.S, the matter was handed over to the Home Secretary to decide. The Home Secretary had 60 days to make his decision, which would have expired on 16th July 2005. The Home Office has stated that they would like more time in order to find a new Lawyer to give them advice on American Law, especially in relation to the Death Penalty.

Under the new UK-U.S. Extradition Treaty 2003, the U.S does not have to provide prima facie evidence to support their allegations. If successfully extradited, lawyers for Mr Ahmad argue that he is very likely to face:

  • Gross abuses in U.S. prisons: no access to visitors, no private access to a lawyer.
  • Denial of a fair trial: unreliable evidence obtained under torture can be used
  • Rendition: he could be secretly kidnapped and sent to a third state for torture.
  • Military Tribunal: he could be sent to Guantanamo Bay.
  • Death Penalty: he could be placed on Death Row.

Mr Ahmad’s family have agreed to the request for an extension. Babar Ahmad's case has become well-known nationally. Many people, Muslims and non-Muslims, have been lobbying their MP’s to voice their concerns over this extradition and how the Extradition Treaty 2003 is a threat to their civil liberties. 73 MPs so far have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM No. 241 tabled by Boris Johnson) opposing the Treaty.

We hope that Mr Clarke will be sensitive in his decision to the many issues surrounding this complex case, especially in terms of its effects on community relations.

Free Babar Ahmad
14th July 2005