Police accused of 'violent beating' of handcuffed terror suspect

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The Independent Online

Four police officers violently assaulted a terror suspect in front of his wife and continued to do so after he had been handcuffed and restrained, a court heard yesterday.

Constables Mark Jones, 43, Roderick James-Bowen, 40, Nigel Cowley, 33 and Detective Constable John Donohue, 36, sat in the dock as the jury was played a secret audio recording of their alleged ttack on terror suspect Babar Ahmad during the arrest at his home in Tooting, south London, in December 2003.

They are charged with assault, committed in the course of the arrest.

The court heard the recording, made by a "probe" secretly placed in the property by the intelligence services, in which Mr Ahmad can be heard screaming in pain.

"They administered a very violent assault: in effect, they gave him a beating or they beat him up," said Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting.

The officers, part of the Metropolitan Police's Territorial Support Group, were dressed in helmets and protective clothing and carrying batons and CS spray, when they smashed into Mr Ahmad's home before dawn on 2 December 2003. They had been briefed before the raid that Mr Ahmad had received terrorist training, including firearms training, had fought overseas in support of Jihad and was in the advanced stages of martial arts training. They were warned of the dangers he posed and reminded of the death of Detective Constable Stephen Oake, who was stabbed to death in Manchester earlier that year in a similar raid.

"The reality was quite different," Mr Laidlaw said. The jury heard that Mr Ahmad was launched into the window, smashing it, knocking him to the ground where he was punched and kicked repeatedly, as the officers shouted, "Get down! Get down you fucking bastard," and called him "a fucking cunt", ignoring his wife's pleas to leave him alone.

He was then taken into a prayer room on the ground floor of his home, where he was forced into a praying position, while the officers shouted "Where is your God now?" before removing his pyjama bottoms and grabbing his genitals. As he was led to the van the officers stamped down on his bare feet, the court was told. The officers deny the charges. Mr Laidlaw said that the officers will claim that over 70 injuries to Mr Ahmad's head, neck, wrists and feet were sustained in the initial knock into the window and then during his transfer to Charing Cross police station. Mr Ahmad was released without charge six days after his arrest but has been in custody since 2004, awaiting extradition to America for alleged terrorism offences – the longest any British citizen has been held without trial on terrorism charges.

Mr Laidlaw said: "The officer [in the van] sitting nearest to Mr Ahmad's head asked him where he was born and when he replied London, that officer punched him in the back of the head. The same officer then... held him in a headlock. After releasing him [the officer] said: 'You fucking cunt, you'll remember this day for the rest of your life'." Mr Ahmad will appear as a witness today.