Defeat for extradition case suspect

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The Independent Online

A British terror suspect accused of running websites inciting murder and urging Muslims to fight a holy war today lost the first round of his court battle against extradition to the US.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke now has to decide whether Babar Ahmad should be sent to America which alleges he raised money to support terrorism in Chechnya and Afghanistan by internet sites and emails.

Lawyers for the 31-year-old, from Fountain Road, Tooting, south London, said he would be at risk of the death penalty if he was sent to the US and transferred to military jurisdiction.

But following a diplomatic note from the US Embassy in London and prosecutor John Hardy's undertaking at a previous hearing, Senior District Judge Timothy Workman decided at Bow Street Magistrates' Court today "none of the statutory bars apply" to refusing extradition.

He told the court: "This is a difficult and troubling case. The defendant is a British subject who is alleged to have committed offences which, if the evidence were available, could have been prosecuted in this country.

"Nevertheless the government of the United States are entitled to seek his extradition under the terms of the treaty and I'm satisfied ... that none of the statutory bars apply.

"I am therefore sending this case to the Secretary of State for his decision as to whether the defendant should be extradited to the United States of America."

He added he had "no doubt" that the complex issues in the case would need to be examined by the High Court and he told the defendant that he had the right to appeal to the High Court.