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Babar Ahmad Loses Extradition Appeal

Nov 30 2006 16:17
Ashley Brown
Former College employee Babar Ahmad has lost his appeal against extradition on terrorism charges.
Ahmad's father reads a statement outside the High Court. Photo: BBC

The chances of Babar Ahmad remaining in the UK are looking increasingly slim, as High Court judges have rejected his appeal against extradition to the United States.

Ahmad was arrested in August 2004 whilst working in ICT on Level 4 of Mechanical Engineering. He is wanted by the US for allegedly setting up and maintaining websites used to raise money for the Taleban and Chechen rebels, and to recruit fighters for those causes.

The appeal was rejected on the grounds that it could not be proven that Ahmad would be treated unfairly should the extradition proceed. The core argument against extradition by his supporters has been that the new extradition treaty with the United States is unfair, as US authorities are no longer required to give evidence to a UK court.

Imperial College Union currently has a policy to oppose Ahmad's extradition, titled 'Free Babar Ahmad' The policy was passed in controversial circumstances following an outburst by one of its supporters, who had to be removed from the room by security.

The only option now available to Ahmad is to appeal to the House of Lords if judges at the High Court permit it.

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Discussion about “Babar Ahmad Loses Extradition Appeal”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Nov 30 2006 18:10

I always wonder why students have such passions for external affairs but can barely be bothered to vote in our own elections. Surely if the security services has a suspect they know better than a bunch of scientists and engineering students.

Nov 30 2006 18:22

...and Medics

3. ...   
Nov 30 2006 22:38

Most students don't care about this... most students are apathetic and just want to get on with their degrees

4. n/a   
Nov 30 2006 23:41

I care.

It's sad to know that, at any time, in the middle of the night, a bunch of police can storm your house, arrest you, and deliver you to another nation despite the fact that there is not enough evidence you've committed any crime to try you in the UK.

There's no such thing as a fair trial in the US. All it takes is the words "terror suspect" and almost any jury will vote guilty before the prosecution get their starting statement ready.

Dec 01 2006 00:45

I personally dont believe that the US will go through all the effort if the guy was not guilty.

6. n/a   
Dec 01 2006 10:16

The US went through a lot of effort and expense to keep people locked up in Guantanamo Bay to this day, many of which are almost certainly not guilty.

Besides, you've just given the perfect example of how a US jury mind works in terror cases: "if they go to all the effort to prosecute them, then surely they must be guilty of something". The presumption of guilt until innocence is proven is a fatal mistake, and one that should never be accepted by anyone with a sense of justice. Until evidence against Babar Ahmed is made public, all of us have to work on the assumption he's innocent. Anything less would be perverse.

7. think   
Dec 01 2006 14:43

good riddance that we've got rid of this guy I say, whether there's a lot or a little evidence there's something about him that stinks, and whatever his level of involvement the fact they're going to all this effort to extradite him probably means he is at least involved in some minor way, and this alone should be enough for most students int he college to be glad to see the back of him

8. Ben   
Dec 01 2006 15:42


Using the same logic you could argue that the police (either in London or the US) wouldn't shoot somebody unless they were guilty.

But we all know that doesn't work...

Dec 01 2006 16:19


And you'd rather wait till they could prove everything beyond a reasonable doubt before they opened fire/arrested him?

The jury absolutely should work on innocent until proven guilty. The police and the public should not. The court makes (via the jury) the decision on guilt based on the evidence and when he is tried the jury will hear the evidence. We cannot always hear evidence publicly as it may compromise security for any number of reasons and as such we have no choice but to trust that someone in power believes that there is sufficient danger to prosecute. I'd like to know what the evidence is, but I'd rather it was shown only to a jury than it was released and potentially compromise other operations.

We can only trust the authorities to present the evidence to the court. The mindset of the jury is up to the jury themselves. Blame human nature, not the authorities.

Idealism is great, but realism is necessary sometimes.

10. Adil   
Dec 03 2006 09:45

Are British laws not good enough? If there is any evidence against him, he should be charged, tried, convicted and imprisoned in the UK.

Dec 03 2006 10:32

But if he's comitted an offence that falls foul of another country's laws, should he not stand trial for it?

His case involves the setting up of terrorist websites (as I understand it), so how is this different from the US extraditing other UK citizens who have comitted crimes using computers and the internet? Can you prove that what he is alleged to have done has had _absolutely_ nothing to do with the US?

I doubt it.

Dec 03 2006 15:55

Indeed. If the US government believes he has committed a crime in breach of their laws they have every right to make an extradition request. Perhaps the current uni-lateral extradition arrangement is a bit unfair on us, but it doesn't change the fact that even under a more bi-lateral setup, the US would still have the right to request extradition in this situation.

Personally, from what I've seen, I imagine this guy probably is guilty. I don't believe for a second the stories of him being tortured by the British police or secret service... I mean, come on, you'd have to be a pretty stupid secret service to think you'd get away with that in a country such as the modern UK.

I wish the union had never got involved in this though. The US seem to have made a perfectly legitimate extradition request - does the union intervene in every extradition request of UK nationals, or does his being a student/member of staff (can't remember which) make his extradition somehow less justified?

Dec 03 2006 16:10

Staff, I thought - didn't he work for ICT?

And it's been noted that ICU members who have so vocally campaigned against this request have not been too vocal on any other extradition request by the US... funny that.

14. er   
Dec 03 2006 18:20

Hayden said: "you'd have to be a pretty stupid secret service to think you'd get away with that in a country such as the modern UK."

depends if it was the same secret service that gave us the Iraq 'intelligence'. you have way too much faith in the authorities.

Dec 03 2006 20:32

There's a very big difference between providing dodgy intelligence (not that I'm saying it was - I don't know enough about the situation) and a total breach of a British citizen's fundamental human rights here on British soil. Just imagine if something like that was actually proven! Why would the authorities take the risk? What do they have to gain? A forced confession? Guilty or not, Babar and his website are not *that* important to warrant such a massive risk.

16. Ron   
Dec 03 2006 22:29

Is there also a big difference between murdering an innocent Brazilian and extraditing Babar?

Dec 03 2006 22:48

Of course. It is totally disingenuous to suggest otherwise. The Brazilian guy was thought to be a suicide bomber and an imminent danger to those around him. It is an *isolated* incident due to poor judgment on the part of a couple of members of the police. Using emotive language such as "murdering an innocent Brazilian" is irresponsible and gives the impression that his death was the desired outcome when clearly it was not.

How exactly are you drawing similarities between Babar's case and that of the Brazilian guy? Babar's extradition is an instance of a legal procedure that has been around and used for ages now. There's nothing special about it. He's allegedly committed a crime under US jurisdiction and therefore the US made a request to the British government that they might extradite him for trial. So far, the British procedure has found in the favour of the US. Why on Earth is the Union wasting time, money and effort getting involved in this?

18. Adil   
Dec 03 2006 23:53

"But if he's comitted an offence that falls foul of another country's laws, should he not stand trial for it?"

His alleged crimes are crimes in the UK just as much as they are in the US. He was arrested by British authorities a few months before the extradition request came in. He was released without charge. Why?

19. Adil   
Dec 03 2006 23:59

"His case involves the setting up of terrorist websites (as I understand it), so how is this different from the US extraditing other UK citizens who have comitted crimes using computers and the internet? Can you prove that what he is alleged to have done has had _absolutely_ nothing to do with the US?"

The crimes that he is alleged to have commited are linked to the US and many other countries, including the UK.

However, his court hearings have not yet began to deal with matters of innonence/guilt, right now the case is about potential abuse of human rights, and the US does not have a good human rights record, especially when it comes to "enemy combatants".

20. Adil   
Dec 04 2006 00:02

"... I don't believe for a second the stories of him being tortured by the British police or secret service..."

There are no stories of torture. The story is of him being beaten at the time of his first arrest. There are pictures to prove it. The officers were commended for acting "bravely".

Dec 04 2006 01:24

Out of interest, does Babar admit to running the Jihadi website

22. Adil   
Dec 04 2006 10:05

If he had, then the British would surely have convicted him.

Dec 04 2006 15:20

I was wondering if he was contesting what the website did/incited rather than whether he created it...

Jan 13 2007 19:02

Have any of the supporters of this policy actually bothered to read the affadavit issued concerning Babar Ahmad? Whilst I am not generally a supporter of the asymmetric extradition agreement we have with the US Government, in this case they are working on more than a mere hunch.

The reason people can be extradited to the US for crimes they would not be tried or convicted for in the UK is because we do not have identical sets of laws. I would have thought that rather obvious.

Jan 24 2007 21:49

All of the above (supporters and detractors) have missed the key point of the case. It is not about the possibility of torture or whether he is guilty.

The problem is extra-terrortorial reach: the US is extraditing him for offences against US law that he is alleged to have committed in the UK. Firstly, much of what he is alleged to have done whilst illegal in the US were NOT, at the time, (and in some cases still are not) illegal in the UK. Secondly, of those charges that are offences under UK law he should be tried in the UK - except that the Met had already decided there was insufficient evidence for a prosecution.

So why on earth should a British citizen be extradited to the US when everything that they are alleged to have done was done in the UK? This is nothing short of a breach of our soverignty by giving US authorities legal jurisdiction over UK citizens.

Jan 24 2007 23:16

Mustafa Arif:


I am a fuking science student not a political campaigner. I am not so damn politically naive that I need my university student union to waste money on political campaigns on my behalf! Money which rightfully belongs to US - COLLEGE STUDENTS and NOT to fuking babar ahmad or any other college staff. If I want to get involved in politics I will do it on my own, not using a student union as my political campaign vehicle!!

If it were a student being extradited then maybe I would at least understand why our student union should get involved, as it is supposed to represent STUDENTS, but ahmad is a member of fricking STAFF!!

So Mr Arif: kindly go and play politician/campaigner with someone else's money and under someone else's banner!!

27. Hack   
Jan 25 2007 01:25

All together now: ULTRA VIRES!

Jan 25 2007 07:45

Posting "ultra vires" stuff on live is nothing. Wait until everyone realises that now we have joined NUS ICU will be paying through the nose to send a delegation to Blackpool who want to stand and rant about Palestine, Iraq, spurious trade boycotts and gay rights for 3 days.

Jan 25 2007 14:11

I think the idea is that we send a delegation to Blackpool who *don't* want to rant about Palestine, Iraq, spurious trade boycotts and gay rights for 3 days. Both the yes and no campaigns agree we are only interested in issues that directly relate to students. And members of both the yes and no campaign are standing for the position of NUS delegate. Elections will be held for the 8 NUS delegates so vote for the ones you think will get the most out of the NUS for ICU. Also bear in mind that Council will be mandating them to vote a certain way on policies we are interested in.

Jan 26 2007 18:30

@ p***ed off:

eh? I was only commenting on the case itself (as a topical piece of news). I didn't make any comment as to whether an SU should campaign on this matter or not. I am actually of the opinion (like you) that students' unions should only get involved in political campaigns which are directly relevant to their members.

Feb 18 2007 20:55

its wakeup call for all of us.the U.s and UK govt is fooling around. they r the one who creats the difference, they kill on muslim v will kill10000 british and us f**kers.

There are many baber ahmed.vr baber ahmed, and i and when my son will born i will make him baber ahmed...God bless him

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