With over 141,000 people having signed an online petition and following extensive discussion within the Backbench Business Committee, the Free Babar Ahmad (FBA) Campaign is pleased to announce the scheduling of a full votable parliamentary debate on extradition on Monday 5th December.
The debate has been scheduled following enormous criticism of the Backbench Business Committee’s earlier decision to schedule the debate in Westminster Chamber where not all MPs were permitted to participate and where there was no vote.
Ashfaq Ahmad, father of Babar Ahmad said,
“It has been a long and hard fought battle. The opportunity to get the issue of extradition debated in parliament is an important milestone, both for my son and a number of other individuals affected by this unfair piece of legislation.”
“While the final text of the motion fails to mention Babar Ahmad explicitly, it is clear through discussion with various MPs that it is as a direct result of my son’s plight and the subsequent overwhelming public support for the call to try my son in the UK, that this issue is being brought before parliament.”
“It is essential that any reforms to the extradition laws that are voted for apply to pending cases such as Babar’s as it would be absolutely immoral to extradite British citizens under a Treaty that has been found by Parliament to be unfair.”
The full text of the motion is as follows:
“That this House calls upon the Government to reform the UK’s extradition arrangements as a matter of urgency to strengthen the protection of British citizens: by introducing a Bill in Parliament to enact the safeguards recommended by the Joint Committee on Human Rights in its Fifteenth Report of 2010-12, and by pursuing such amendments to the UK-US Extradition Treaty 2003 and the EU Council Framework Decision 2002 on the European Arrest Warrant as are necessary in order to give effect to such recommendations.”
Notes to Editor:
1. Babar Ahmad is the longest detained-without-trial British citizen in the modern history of the UK. He has been detained since 5 August 2004 (over 7 years) following an extradition request from the US under UK's controversial Extradition Act 2003 which allows British Citizens to be extradited to the U.S for offences that allegedly took place in Britain.
2. On 22 November 2011, the Crown Prosecution Service admitted that it had never reviewed all the evidence seized from Babar Ahmad’s home before it was sent to the US authorities. The CPS has nevertheless repeatedly refused to prosecute Babar Ahmad in the UK claiming that there is “insufficient evidence”.
3. A complete timeline of Babar Ahmad’s case from the moment he was arrested on 2 December 2003 can be viewed at http://www.freebabarahmad.com/the-story/timeline .
4. An e-petition requesting that Babar Ahmad be tried in the UK rather than extradited to the US secured over 141,000 signatures within 3 months. The e-petition can be viewed at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/885 .
5. On 24 November 2011, in a debate in Westminster Hall attended by 35 MPs, there was consensus that the Babar Ahmad e-petition should be debated in the main chamber of the Commons.
6. During his arrest in London in 2003, Babar Ahmad sustained over 73 injuries. In March 2009, the Metropolitan Police admitted carrying out this abuse and paid him £60,000 compensation. The 4 police officers responsible were later found not guilty of this abuse in June 2011, following a 5 week trial at Southwark Crown Court. At the conclusion of that trial, the Recorder of Westminster, Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC, said about Babar Ahmad's case, "I express the hope that the ordeal of a man in detention in this country for a number of years without trial is brought to an end as soon as possible...”
7. On 22 June 2011, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights explicitly raised concerns over Babar Ahmad's case in its report in 'The Human Rights Implications of U.K extradition policy' and recommended that the government urgently re-negotiate the UK- US extradition of individuals in Babar Ahmad's position.
8. The Free Babar Ahmad campaign rejects the findings of the Home Office’s review into the UK’s extradition laws which is peculiarly at odds with the findings of the JCHR.
9. Babar Ahmad's final appeal is still being deliberated by the European Court of Human Rights which is to deliver judgment by the end of 2011.
10. Babar Ahmad is represented in his extradition case by Ms Gareth Peirce of Birnberg Peirce & Partners.