The family of a south London man who is fighting against his extradition to the US on terrorism charges have called for him to be tried in the UK.
Syed Talha Ahsan, 31, was arrested from his home in Tooting in July 2006 and has been held in Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire for the past five years.
The US accuses him of running extremist websites and supporting the Taliban. He has not been charged by UK authorities.
His extradition case has been taken to the European Court of Human Rights.
Both the US embassy and the UK Home Office have refused to comment on the case.
Mr Ahsan, who studied at Dulwich College and has a first class degree in Arabic from the School of Oriental and African Studies, became increasingly religious and political while at school, his family said.
He was arrested on a federal indictment from the district attorney of the state of Connecticut.
The US alleges he was involved with extremist websites between 1997 and 2004, hosted on a US service provider.
He is also accused of supporting the Taliban and having discussed in emails the possibility of attacking naval targets in the Persian Gulf. Mr Ahsan denies all charges.
Mr Ahsan’s family wants his trial to take place in the UK claiming that he could be subjected to “inhumane treatment” in the US because he faces the prospect of being detained in a so-called “supermax” high security prison in Colorado, where other terror suspects were held.
They have claimed this would be in breach of his human rights as they believe he could face years of solitary confinement and could be locked up for 23 hours a day.
His father Abu Ahsan said: “He’s born and brought up in this country and if he’d done anything wrong in this country then it will be tried according to the law in this country.
His father further stated, “He has never been in America.”
Robin Simcox, from the Henry Jackson Society – an organization which seeks to promote liberal democracy around the world – believes extradition would be in the interests of justice.
He said: “For the European court to decide all of a sudden that America wouldn’t be a fair place to try terrorist suspects strikes me as a completely unreasonable position to take.”
But five years on Abu Ahsan remains hopeful of being reunited with his son.
“I hope he will come back and when he will come back he will take (over) my business,” he said.
This article was published by BBC New London on July 21, 2011.
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