British terror suspect to be extradited to US

British terror suspect to be extradited to US

By Louise Nousratpour

Morning Star, 17 November 2005

Peace campaigners attacked Home Secretary Charles Clarke’s “disgraceful” decision yesterday to extradite British terror suspect Barbar Ahmad to the US where he could be executed.

Mr Clarke ordered the extradition of Mr Ahmad, currently being held in Woodhill Prison, Milton Keynes, because of US allegations that he raised money to support terrorism in Chechnya and Afghanistan through websites.

The US government also accused Mr Ahmad of trying to set up a terrorist training camp in Arizona, but is yet to back its accusations with evidence.

Mr Ahmad’s family said that they would be appealing against his extradition in the High Court.

In a posting on his website, Mr Ahmad – a computer expert from Tooting in south west London – said: “This decision should only come as a surprise to those who thought that there was still justice for Muslims in Britain.”

Mr Ahmad’s lawyers warned that he could face the death penalty if sent to the US and transferred to the notorious Guantánamo Bay prison.

A judge ruled in May that Mr Ahmad could be removed from Britain to face trial in the US and the case was sent to the Home Secretary for final approval. It took Mr Clarke six months to make his decision, which sparked anger among Muslim groups, who branded it a “travesty of justice”.

Muslim Council of Britain spokesman Inayat Bunglawala insisted: “If our government has any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Babar Ahmad, then he should be charged in this country and put on trial here.”

Tooting Labour MP Sadiq Khan expressed his disappointment at the extradition order and agreed that Mr Ahmad should face trial in Britain.

Stop the War Coalition spokesman Andrew Burgin added that the order was a direct attack on the Muslim community. “The decision is disgraceful and has no foundation. It was a political decision and not a judiciary one”, he said.

A spokesman for Mr Ahmad’s family warned that the move had sent a message to British Muslims that “there is no legal and democratic means to air your concerns. You must use other ways to get justice”.

The order comes under the Extradition Act 2003, designed to speed up the extradition process of suspected terrorists. Under the legislation the US is not obliged to present a prima facie case, although Britain must do so in the reverse situation.