'Send my son home' – terror suspect's father
Babar Ahmad faces trial in the US over website, despite insufficient evidence to try him in UK
Emily Dugan is social affairs correspondent for The Independent, i and Independent on Sunday. She was previously a news reporter for The Independent on Sunday. Her investigations into human trafficking have twice been awarded Best Investigative Article at the Anti-Slavery Day Media Awards and her human rights journalism was shortlisted for the Gaby Rado Memorial prize at the 2012 Amnesty Media Awards.
Sunday 07 October 2012
The father of Babar Ahmad, one of five terror suspects extradited to America on Friday night, yesterday made an impassioned plea for his son to be brought back here, saying the injustice of his case would harm Britain's reputation abroad and shatter community relations.
Ashfaq Ahmad told The Independent on Sunday that the Government had "disgraced themselves" by handing over his son when there was not enough evidence to try him in the UK. Babar Ahmad, 37, appeared in a Connecticut court yesterday with Syed Talha Ahsan, charged with running websites that were allegedly connected to funding terrorism. Both pleaded not guilty and were remanded in custody.
They were flown out of the country at the same time as the radical cleric Abu Hamza, who faced terror charges at a New York court yesterday alongside Khaled al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary. On Friday, all five had their grounds for appeal denied in the High Court. But unlike Hamza, who has already been convicted here of soliciting to murder and stirring up racial hatred, there was insufficient evidence to bring any charges against and Ahsan or Ahmad in the UK.
Speaking near his home in Tooting, south London, Ashfaq Ahmad, 77, said: "The Government have disgraced themselves by sending him there. They should stand up for British citizens. They can redeem themselves by sending him back here.
"The cases of Babar and Hamza are poles apart and should never have been put together. It's like someone taking a wallet and someone killing someone. It has done a lot of damage to Babar's cause and reputation. Everyone just says 'Hamza and four others', but they're very different cases. I believe he's innocent. Let him go to court here and prove his innocence."
Babar Ahmad was alleged to have been involved in Azzam.com, a website that supported Osama bin Laden and promoted the fighting of a jihad against the West. The US believes Azzam and other connected websites were also used as a recruitment hub for Islamist extremists.
It emerged last week that Metropolitan Police detectives sent information to FBI agents on Ahmad at a time when the case against the long-imprisoned terror suspect was collapsing because of a lack of evidence. He was first arrested at his home in Tooting in 2003 in connection with an anti-terrorism investigation and by the time he arrived at the police station he had sustained 73 injuries. He was released after three days without charge and was later paid £60,000 in compensation by the Met.
In 2004 he was arrested again, pending extradition to the US. He has been in prison ever since, setting a British record for the longest time spent behind bars without trial .
His father said: "I would like to say to Mr Cameron and his Government that they have done a lot of damage. I now have my doubts about the legal system. You have the last say and it's your duty to bring your citizen back. He's a British-born boy who lived all his life here. He has every right to be tried in this country."
Mr Ahmad, who worked in the civil service for 21 years, said the family were denied the chance to say goodbye to their son after a scheduled prison visit on Friday afternoon was cancelled at the last minute.
- 1 The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
- 2 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 3 Andy Murray takes to Twitter to show off his Christmas jumper
- 4 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 5 Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
Dublin court rules brain-dead pregnant mother's life support can be switched off
Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...