3 Nov 2011

Government urged to review Babar Ahmad case

A petition calling for a UK trial for a terror suspect who has been detained without charge for seven years reaches 100,000 signatures, meaning the case can be debated in parliament.

Babar Ahmad

Campaigners are calling for “an urgent full re-review” of Babar Ahmad‘s case. No British citizen has been detained longer without trial since 9/11.

Mr Ahamd was first arrested in 2003 at his London home in Tooting and accused of providing finance and logistical support to al-Qaeda.

During his arrest he sustained 73 separate injuries and was released without charge six days later.

The 37 year old was re-arrested in August 2004 under an international arrest warrant issued by American federal authorities and is being held in maximum security prison units awaiting a final ruling on extradition to the US. He has now been imprisoned for 2,646 days, according to the campaign for him to be freed.

The US alleges that Mr Ahmad was responsible for a global fund-raising campaign for fighters in Afghanistan and Chechnya through a website operated from south London but technically based in the US.

He denies he is guilty of any terrorist offence.


The e-petition followed a campaign run by his family, which has attracted the support of celebrities including boxer Amir Khan, comedians Mark Thomas and Marcus Brigstocke, and actor Robert Llewellyn.

It said: “In June 2011, the Houses of Parliament Joint Committee on Human Rights urged the UK government to change the law so that Babar Ahmad’s perpetual threat of extradition is ended without further delay.

“Since all of the allegations against Babar Ahmad are said to have taken place in the UK, we call upon the British Government to put him on trial in the UK and support British Justice for British Citizens.”

Mr Ahmad’s lawyers have also argued that his human rights would be breached if he was sent to America because he could face life imprisonment without parole and solitary confinement at a “supermax” jail.

‘Overwhelmed’ by support

In a statement, Mr Ahmad’s family said: “Our solicitors have prepared a fresh file of evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC proving that the CPS should have prosecuted Babar in 2004.

“Over 100,000 members of the British public now ask the DPP to confirm that he will instruct independent counsel to conduct an urgent full re-review of this case so that Babar Ahmad can be put on trial in the UK.

“We also ask the coalition government to confirm that a full Parliamentary debate will be held about Babar’s case with a view to putting him on trial in the UK.”

“We are overwhelmed by the amount of support for Babar’s case. This shows that the British public is still prepared to stand up against injustice.”

The petition is one of only five petitions which have reached 100,000 signatures.

Read more: Police officers cleared of assault on Babar Ahmad


In March 2009, the Metropolitan Police agreed to pay him £60,000 in compensation damages after he complained that he had been subjected to physical, sexual, and religious abuse during his initial arrest.

But a subsequent four-week criminal trial of the four officers involved in the incident ended in an acquittal.

During the trial, Babar Ahmad told the court that he was awoken from his sleep at 5am on 2 December 2003 when officers from the Anti-Terrorist Branch and the Territorial Support Group raided his home.

He said he was wrestled to the floor and repeatedly punched and sworn at, claiming that one officer pulled his genitals.

The four officers told the court that Mr Ahmad’s injuries were either self-inflicted or caused by a legal tackle that took him to the ground when he was first detained.

In July last year, the European Court of Human Rights halted extradition proceedings, but Home Secretary Theresa May decided he should remain in custody until a final ruling is made later this year.