Islamic Human Rights Commission
5th August 2004
Press Release: Arrest of Babar Ahmed for Extradition
IHRC condemns in the strongest manner the re-arrest today of Babar Ahmed by the Metropolitan Police Service at the request of the US government.
The US extradition warrant alleges that between 1998 and February 2001, Babar, through American-based websites and email communications, solicited and invited people to give money and property for the purposes of ‘terrorism’ in Afghanistan and Chechnya. A similar allegation is made against Babar for the period between February 2001 and the end of 2003.
Even George W. Bush recognised that Russia was committing war crimes in the Republic of Chechnya of the Russian Federation and recommended cutting off IMF aid and import/export loans to Russia until it understood that it needed “to resolve the dispute peacefully and not be bombing women and children and causing huge numbers of refugees to flee Chechnya.” (i) Many other Republicans on Capitol Hill including former US national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, recognised that the Chechen people were merely exercising their fundamental right of self-defence in the face of genocide at the hands of Russia. (ii)
IHRC chairman, Massoud Shadjareh, stated:
“We are very confused as to the exact time when the ‘good guys’ became the ‘bad guys’. It is a well known fact that as late as August 2001, the US government was itself courting the Taliban government in Texas. If they themselves were funding the Taliban at that time, why is it a crime for others to have done so?”
IHRC has further concerns about the grave possibility that Babar will be exposed to torture if extradited into US custody. In light of recent revelations of American torture of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gunatanamo Bay, it will be a breach of the UK’s obligations under international law by deporting Babar into US custody.
Babar Ahmed is a British citizen who was previously arrested by the MPS in December 2003. In a raid which shocked Muslims around the world, Babar suffered a brutal beating at the hands of the MPS, who forced him to prostrate with his forehead touching the ground and asked him, “Where is your God now?” Babar was subsequently released without charge and filed a complaint against the MPS regarding the brutal assault he suffered.
IHRC is also deeply concerned that re-arresting Babar at this point will undermine due process in his case against the MPS. The brutality and Islamophobic behaviour of the MPS must be investigated fully and not compromised by re-arresting Babar and deporting him to the United States.
Massoud Shadjareh said,
“The Muslim community has been waiting patiently for justice for many months now. Is this really how a complaint against the Metropolitan Police should be investigated?”
For more information please contact, (+44) 20 8904 4222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183
(i) Interview with George W. Bush on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, February 16, 2000.
Available at www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/election/jan-june00/bush_2-16.html
(ii)73Z. Brzezinski, “Why the West Should Care About Chechnya,” The Wall Street Journal,
November 10, 1999. He made a similar argument in testimony before the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, April 12, 2000.