In light of tonight’s historic interview with British citizen Babar Ahmad, his family have called for there to be a full public inquiry into the mishandling of the evidence seized from his home by the police.
In November 2011, the Crown Prosecution Service admitted for the first time that it had never seen all the evidence seized from Babar’s home as the police had already sent it to their American counterparts. Tthe CPS never had the opportunity to examine all the evidence to decide whether Babar Ahmad could have been prosecuted in the UK, yet repeatedly maintained that there was “insufficient evidence” to do so.
The allegations against Babar Ahmad are extremely serious and necessitate his being prosecuted in a British court to be given the opportunity to clear his name. The alleged activity is said to have taken place in the UK by a British citizen and all the evidence was obtained in the UK.
Ashfaq Ahmad, father of Babar Ahmad, stated:
“Never before has any British citizen been detained without trial for such a lengthy period of time. If this has been as a result of a serious and unprecedented abuse of process by the British authorities in relation to their mishandling of the evidence, there must be a public inquiry into the matter."
Babar Ahmad is also willing to engage in correspondence with the media who should write to him by recorded delivery at the following address: Babar Ahmad A9385AG, Detainee Unit, HMP Long Lartin, South Littleton, Evesham WR11 8TZ. [ENDS]
Notes to the Editor:
1. BBC Newsnight broadcast an exclusive interview with Babar Ahmad on 5 April 2012, the first ever interview of its kind with a prisoner, either on remand like Babar Ahmad, or convicted and serving a sentence.
2. On 11 January 2012, the High Court in London ruled that it was unlawful for Justice Secretary Ken Clarke to refuse the BBC permission to film an interview with British Detainee Babar Ahmad in prison, paving the way for the media to be allowed camera access to a British prisoner for the first time.
3. Babar Ahmad has been detained without trial since 5 August 2004 following an extradition request from the US. 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. The European Court of Human Rights is due to deliver its judgment on 10 April 2012 as to whether Babar Ahmad’s extradition to the US would violate his human rights due to the prison conditions he is expected to be held in.
5. 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”. On 24 November 2011, Caroline Lucas MP called for a full public inquiry into the handling of the evidence.
6. A full parliamentary debate on urgently reforming British extradition laws took place on 5 December 2011 with the motion being passed without a vote. The debate came as a result of an e-petition to put Babar Ahmad on trial in the UK securing over 141,000 signatures within 3 months. The e-petition can be viewed at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/885 .
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. In 2005, District Judge Timothy Workman, then the most senior extradition judge in the UK, said about Babar Ahmad's case. "This is a difficult and troubling case. The defendant is a British Citizen who is alleged to have committed offences which if the evidence were available, could have been prosecuted in this country."
9. 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. Four police officers later stood trial over this attack but were found not guilty.