Joint Press Release from Scotland Against Criminalising Communities and the Islamic Society of Britain (Edinburgh)
Babar Ahmad is a British citizen who was first arrested under Anti-Terrorism Laws in December 2003. He was left with 50 injuries, two of which were life threatening. He was released without charge after a week. He was re-arrested on 5th August 2004 on an Extradition Warrant by the USA. Babar has been fighting this extradition. The matter has been referred to the Home Secretary Charles Clarke for a decision.
Babar Ahmad's wife calls for justice for all those interned inside Britains Guantanamo Bay at Belmarsh and Woodhill prisons and for Babar's right to be tried in Britain.
Babar Ahmad's wife, speaking at a a crowded session of the G8 Alternatives Summit in Edinburgh on Sunday 3 July, criticised the erosion of civil liberties and the unjust use of the terrorism act. She in particular criticised the UK Extradition Act 2003 in which:
- The new Extradition Act 2003 was fast-tracked into UK legislation in 2003 without formal consultative parliamentary process, scrutiny or debate. David Blunkett fast tracked this extradition law.
- It allows the UK to extradite any individual to the US (and other designated countries) WITHOUT the need for the US to provide prima facie evidence to support the extradition request. In other words, the accused DOES NOT have the right to challenge any evidence provided by the US in a British Court of Law.
Mrs Ahmad criticised the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke for refusing to meet the family of Babar Ahmad. She called upon supporters to write to the Home Secretary urging him to reject Babar's extradition to the USA.
Mrs Ahmad read out a message from Babar Ahmad to the G8 leaders (full text below)in which he states: 'If the British Justice System is supposed to be the best in the World, why do British Citizens have to be sent to America to be tried for so-called 'crimes' that are alleged to have been committed mostly if not wholly in Britain? Should Britain realistically extradite any human being to the U.S. given America's track record of torture, sexual and religious abuse of prisoners, Guantanamo Bay and extra-judicial rendition of people to countries that make Saddam Hussain's Iraq look like a Scandinavian democracy?'
For further details visit:www.freebabarahmad.com
Other speakers at the same session of the G8 Alternatives Summit included Glasgow-based human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar and Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan who left his post after speaking out about Foreign Office complicity in torture. The session was chaired by Rosemarie McIlwhan, director of the Scottish Human Rights Centre. The G8 Alernatives Summit was organised by G8 Alternatives (www.g8alternatives.org.uk), a broad coalition of political parties, NGOs, trade unions, campaigning groups and concerned individuals.
The new extradition law also came under fire from a cross-party panel of Parliamentarians meeting in the House of Commons on Monday 4 July. "It is offensive that our government should insist on deporting them to the United States without testing the evidence in a court in the UK", said Lib Dem peer Lord Goodhart QC.
Message from Babar Ahmad to the Audience at the G8 Alternative Summit
This is a message from British Political Prisoner Babar Ahmad, who has been held hostage in a British Prison after being kidnapped at the request of the U.S. in August 2004.
The summit of the world leaders that is being held in Gleneagles is wrongly named. It should be called the G7 Summit, because in effect Britain has become the colony of the U.S. It is spineless to make independent sovereign decisions without being dictated to by the U.S.
In the days of the British Empire, all colonies had to hand over their citizens to the Empire upon demand without the need for any evidence to be presented. It was a one-way system since these colonies did not have the right to ask for any British Citizen in the same way.
Today, Britain has transformed from being a coloniser to the colonised. Since the signing of the UK-U.S. Extradition Treaty 2003, the U.S. Empire can demand the extradition of any British Citizen without having to produce a shred of evidence in a British Court. On the other hand, Britain cannot request the extradition of a U.S. citizen in the same way because the British Government claims that to do so will be in breach of the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights.
Sadly, this is not merely a hypothetical situation but this Extradition Treaty affects real people, real families, and real British Citizens. It is one thing to demand the extradition of a British Citizen without any evidence. It is quite another thing to cage a British Citizen like an animal for almost one year, subject him to humiliating strip-searches and monitor every word and letter of his, at the 'request' of the U.S. Government.
Yet, statistics show that the so-called 'War on Terror' is actually being used as a pretext to give the U.S. control over every British Citizen, Muslim or not. Of the 50 or so extradition requests made by the U.S. under this new Extradition Treaty, we are told that only 3 relate to alleged terrorism offences whilst over 20 relate to alleged financial crimes.
If the British Justice System is supposed to be the best in the World, why do British Citizens have to be sent to America to be tried for so-called 'crimes' that are alleged to have been committed mostly if not wholly in Britain? Should Britain realistically extradite any human being to the U.S. given America's track record of torture, sexual and religious abuse of prisoners, Guantanamo Bay and extra-judicial rendition of people to countries that make Saddam Hussain's Iraq look like a Scandinavian democracy?
Edward Burke said that all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Today, you are being asked to make a stand: not for me, but for your own selves and for your own children. Today it is my turn. Tomorrow it will be your turn and anyone else identified as Anti-Establishment. Act now before it is too late.
Babar Ahmad, MX5383, HMP Woodhill.
03 July 2005