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June 13, 2007

Muslim in final appeal to stop extradition to US

Lawyers acting for Babar Ahmad are making a final appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to prevent the computer expert from London’s prestigious Imperial College being extradited to the US for allegedly running terrorist websites.

A decision on the case is expected to be made Thursday after Britain’s highest judicial authorities, the House of Lords, refused permission to appeal at the weekend.

“After three years of imprisonment without charge, Babar is being sent to face a flawed justice system in the United States,” said his family, who live in Tooting, south London.

They said that his supporters from all over the UK will “hold the British Government responsible if he is subjected to any physical or psychological abuse.”

Law Lords rejected Babar’s appeal on Sunday when concluding that two points of law presented to them were not matters of “public importance.”

But his family said that the refusal was a “complete travesty of justice.” The Attorney General and the Crown Prosecution Service had confirmed in writing several times that there is “insufficient evidence to charge Babar with any crime,” they said.

The computer expert was arrested under a US extradition warrant in August 2004. He was previously released without any charge after being detained eight months earlier under Britain’s anti-terrorism laws.

“We cannot understand why then he should face extradition. We still call on the British Government to put him on trial in the UK or in a neutral court such as the International Criminal Court in The Hague,” his family said.

Speaking from his prison in Manchester, Babar said that he felt “badly let down” by the British Government. “I am nothing more than a man sold out by his country,” he said.

His case is also being taken up by his local MP, Sadiq Khan, who told The Muslim News he had written to Home Secretary John Reid to intervene.

“In addition to asking him to reconsider the extradition, I have asked for assurances and safeguards about his treatment in the USA should he be extradited,” said Khan, who is also a human rights lawyer.

The Government has come under widespread pressure over the non-reciprocal nature of its controversial extradition treaty with the US, which came into force in the UK in 2004 but was only recently ratified by the US Congress.

A report last year also warned that the Government's handling of Babar’s case and its ‘lopsided’ extradition arrangements with the U.S. had succeeded in “radicalising a new generation of British Muslims.”



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