A senior Parliamentary committee has called for the Government to take immediate action to stop the extradition of British detainee, Babar Ahmad, to the US.
The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) published a report on UK Extradition Policy, in which they investigated cases of extradition to America, where the evidence used was gathered by UK police, in the UK, about acts committed on UK soil and where the Crown Prosecution Service had decided not to prosecute. In these situations, it would be expected for the accused to be released, as with them having not been prosecuted, there would be no reason for them to be further detained. However, under Article 5(3) of the US-UK Extradition Treaty 2003, extradition is allowed where the competent authorities of the Requested State have decided not to prosecute, discontinue prosecution or are still investigating. The US has requested the extradition of Babar Ahmad under this article.
Ahmad is the longest detained-without-charge British detainee in modern history, having been held as a part of the global “war on terror” for the last six years.
Commenting on the UK’s extradition policy, particularly on Article 5(3), the JCHR stated at paragraph 196 of their report: “We recommend that the Government urgently renegotiate this article of the US-UK extradition treaty to exclude the possibility that extradition is requested and granted in cases such as that of (…) Mr Ahmad, where the UK police and prosecution authorities have already made a decision not to charge or prosecute an individual on the same evidence adduced by the US authorities to request extradition.”
This statement follows the recent comment, made by Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC, Recorder of Westminster and Deputy High Court Judge, for Ahmad’s “ordeal” to come to an end.
Having received these recent comments, the family of Babar Ahmad are calling upon the British Government to either release him, or to put him on trial in the UK. They of course join the senior Parliamentary committee in protesting Ahmad’s extradition to the US, and are appealing to the UK’s current extradition laws.
When asked by The Muslim News about the controversial UK Extradition Policy, a Home Office spokesperson said, “The UK’s extradition arrangements are currently being reviewed by an independent panel to ensure they operate effectively and in the interests of justice.”
As the aspects of the policy that we asked about are the main aspects being questioned in the review, they felt it would be “inappropriate to comment further”.
However, the review is not expected to be completed until the end of this summer, which could prove to be too late for many victims of the UK Extradition Policy.
This article was written by Saliha Shariff and published by The Muslim News on July 29, 2011.
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