Babar Ahmad, Talha Ahsan, Abu Hamza, Adel Abdul Bary and Khaled al-Fawwaz were put on 2 planes at RAF Mildenhall just after midnight on Saturday, rushed out of the country in a panic in case, despite all the assertions of finality by the High Court judges, a fresh legal challenge could be mounted. The extradition planes seem to have been in the UK since at least the start of the court hearing, their masters having apparently been able to miraculously foretell the outcome of the hearing.
Babar and Talha appeared the same day in the U.S. District Court in New Haven, Connecticut and were arraigned on federal charges that they provided terrorists in Afghanistan and Chechnya with cash, recruits and equipment. Both men pled not guiltty
It's likely to be some time before their cases come to trial. While awaiting trial, they will be held in isolation under "Special Administrative Measures" (SAMs).
Comment in the US is already suggesting that the extraditions will embarrass Obama - not because it makes him a party to injustice, but because the injustice isn't profound enough to satisfy the US loony right. The problem is that the US has promised to try the men in civilian courts, rather trying them than by military commission or skipping trial altogether - Militants' extradition could give Obama political headache
Judge Sir John Thomas argued in the High Court in London this week that the extraditions had to go ahead urgently because the US was "ready" to put the men on trial. But it seems no one in the US expects a trial any time soon.
An article in the Independent reveals that British Police secretly handed the FBI evidence on Babar Ahmad while claiming their own case against him was collapsing due to lack of evidence. It's perhaps the first piece of serious investigative journalism to have come out of all the long years of Babar and Talha's fight for justice. It's also the first time, amidst all the stone-walling and contradictory statement by the CPS, that we've been able to clearly trace the handling of specific pieces of evidence. If this story had been published a week earlier, it might have been enough to tip the balance of the arguments for a UK prosecution.