The family of Babar Ahmad have spoken out following the Government’s decision to block the extradition of Gary McKinnon on human rights grounds.
Mr McKinnon, 46, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, was facing extradition and a lengthy jail sentence after he admitted “hacking” into US government computers but claimed he was looking for evidence of UFOs.
Home Secretary Theresa May today blocked the move citing McKinnon’s illness as the primary reason for not sending him to the United States.
Last week Tooting residents Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan, who also suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, were extradited to the US on terror charges despite being detained without trial for more than five years.
But the family of Mr Ahmad, reacting to today’s news, accused the Government of “double standards” and “old-fashioned racism”.
A spokesman for the family said: “We strongly welcome the decision not to extradite Gary McKinnon – we would not want his family to experience the pain and suffering we have all been enduring since Babar was extradited.
“However, questions do need to be asked as to why within the space of two weeks, a British citizen with Asperger’s accused of computer related activity is not extradited, while two other British citizens, one with Asperger’s, engaged in computer related activity are extradited. A clear demonstration of double standards.
“Many of our supporters are angry at what appears to be blatant old-fashioned racism under which all British citizens are equal but some are more equal than others.”
Tooting MP Sadiq Khan, also the shadow justice minister, echoed the Ahmad’s family sentiment of “double standards” and believes the decision will undermine the British justice system.
He said: “The government is using the Human Rights Act to prevent the extradition of Gary McKinnon on health grounds, but Syed Talha Ahsan also suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome.
“This issue was raised with the British authorities by both myself and the legal representatives of my constituents, but ignored on each occasion. The obvious question people are asking is why Gary’s case is different.
“The issue of ‘forum’ was also crucial in both Babar and Tahla’s cases yet the changes announced today will not help them as they have both have now gone to the USA.
“Today’s announcement will cause considerable confusion. The appearance of double standards by the Home Secretary does not engender confidence in the justice system.”
For further information visit www.freebabarahmad.com.
See also Alex MacDonald, “Gary McKinnon has Asperger’s Syndrome; so does Talha Ahsan”, Huffington Post, 16 October 2012