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Forwarded Press Release: Event marks 6 years without trial for young poet

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Marking 6 years of Detention without trial for Talha Ahsan : Poetry, film & tributes

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Forwarded from: freetalha.org
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13 July 2012

PRESS RELEASE: UK London event marks 6 years without trial for young poet

Poetry, film & tributes from friends, artists, writers & family

19 July marks the sixth year in detention, without trial for Syed Talha Ahsan.  Awaiting extradition to the USA, Ahsan is one of the several men who have become victim to the unjust Extradition Act 2003.  Other men in a similar situation include Richard O’Dwyer, Gary McKinnon and Babar Ahmad.

‘Free Talha’ (http://www.freetalha.org) [1] and supporters of Talha will be coming together on the anniversary of his detention, 19 July at Hend House, 233 Shafstebury Avenue, London, WC2H 8EE (full details below).
Several novelists, poets and writers[2] have sent messages of support for Talha and his case.  Novelist A.L. Kennedy writes:

"… That Talha has been imprisoned for years without trial in my country shames me as a UK citizen.  Talha is also a UK citizen.  He is being held at the request of a foreign power under the terms of a treaty which does not require the production of prima facie evidence and, indeed, no evidence of that nature has been produced. It also seems clear that whatever allegations have been concocted are partly the fruits of torture and therefore not only morally corrosive, but also thoroughly unreliable.  That my government would give Talha no assistance in a time of absolute need and would, in fact, help engineer his distress is another indication of its utterly reckless, unsustainable and inhuman stance on human rights."

‘Marking 6 years of Detention without trial or charge for Talha Ahsan: Poetry, film & tributes from friends, artists, writers & family’ will begin at 19:00 (GMT+1) and end at 21:00 (GMT +1).  The event will be broadcast live over the internet through the support of Islamic Human Rights Commission on http://www.ihrc.tv.  If you require audio or video clips of the event for broadcast, please contact arzu@ihrc.org before the event to arrange.

Speakers at the event include

  • Gareth Peirce, Talha’s lawyer
  • Amrit Wilson, Activist & Writer (Martin Luther King Award)
  • Hamja Ahsan, Talha’s brother and Campaign leader
  • Doctors Against Extraditions - introducing new campaign point with British Medical Association
  • Zita Holbourne - poet, BARAC chair and activist

Twitter hashtag: #6yearsTalha

Nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road

Hend House / Zakat House
233 Shaftebury Avenue
London WC2H 8EE

For further information about the event please contact Hamja Ahsan on (+44) 7542993012 or email hamjaahsan@gmail.com
  
Notes to Editors:

[1] For full information on Talha’s case, please visit http://www.freetalha.org or contact Hamja Ahsan on (+44)7542993012 or hamjaahsan@gmail.com

[2] Messages from Noam Chomsky, A.L. Kennedy, Michael Rosen below.

"With the sharp deterioration of protection of elementary civil rights in the US, no one should be extradited to the country on charges related to alleged terrorism. The constitutional lawyer in the White House, after all, has just made it clear that the due process provisions of the US Constitution (and Magna Carta) can be satisfied by an internal discussion in the executive branch. And that is hardly the only example. Furthermore, the prisons and the incarceration system in general are an international scandal. The shallow and evasive charges in this case strongly reinforce that conclusion. I wish you the best success in your campaign to block extradition for Talha Ahsan."

- Noam Chomsky

"I know Talha Ahsan as a poet and I have written to him during his confinement at Long Lartin prison. I have been moved and sustained by his optimism, humour and gentleness in those letters.That Talha has been imprisoned for years without trial in my country shames me as a UK citizen. Talha is also a UK citizen. He is being held at the request of a foreign power under the terms of a treaty which does not require the production of prima facie evidence and, indeed, no evidence of that nature has been produced. It also seems clear that whatever allegations have been concocted are partly the fruits of torture and therefore not only morally corrosive, but also thoroughly unreliable. That my government would give Talha no assistance in a time of absolute need and would, in fact, help engineer his distress is another indication of its utterly reckless, unsustainable and inhuman stance on human rights."

- A. L. Kennedy, Novelist

‘Between them, the USA and the UK have invented a policy – imprisonment without trial. What do we say to this? It is both utterly wrong in principle and wrong in the particular case of Talha Ahsan and others suffering under this policy. This threatens every single one of us. It is in effect a de facto not a a de iure law that appears on no statute books and yet can be used any time two countries with extradition agreements decide to apply it. Talha is suffering because of this. No, he has already suffered. Even if he was guilty of anything, it would be still utterly wrong in terms of the justice we are all entitled to that he has been imprisoned without trial. Let’s not forget Pastor Niemoeller’s words – and let’s adapt them too: First they came for Talha Ahsan, and because I am not a Muslim, I said nothing….’

- Michael Rosen, Poet, broadcaster and Children Laureate

[ENDS]

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Forwarded by IHRC solely for informational purposes, please contact freetalha.org website for more information
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