Babar Ahmad Extradition: Sister Vows To Fight 'To The End'

The Huffington Post UK  |  By Posted: 10/04/2012 15:17 Updated: 10/04/2012 16:09

The sister of terror suspect Babar Ahmad has vowed to fight his extradition to America “to the end” after European judges paved the way for him and four others to be removed.

Former GP and mother-of-four Amna Ahmad, 33, said she was worried about what would happen to her brother's mental health if he was sent to the US.

“I’m worried that if he’s sent across to the United States firstly they’ll hold him in solitary confinement pre-trial like they did to Chris Tappin, they’ll probably be worse on Babar than they are to Chris Tappin.

“We’re a British family. Most of us were born in Britain, we’ve worked hard, we’re professionals, we’ve paid our taxes.

"To see our own government in essence not standing up for someone we need them to stand up for, not standing up for their British citizens, why is the British justice system incompetent in prosecuting Babar in this country?

Ahmad, who has been held in Britain for eight years without trial, had his extradition to the US approved by European judges on Tuesday morning, who also paved the way for radical preacher Abu Hamza and three other suspects to go to America.

Amna spoke to her brother shortly after the decision.

“He is obviously very, very disappointed with the ruling but it's added more fuel for us to pursue the British government to ask what’s gone wrong with this case because we believe there has been a serious abuse of process,” she told The Huffington Post UK.

"We’re not asking for mercy. We're just asking for a basic rights that apply to paedophiles and rapists and who are accused of all sorts of crimes. We’re asking for those same basic rights.

“They're afforded the chance to have a fair trial in the United Kingdom in front of a jury of their peers of offences that appear to have been committed on their home ground. Babar's not been awarded that opportunity. “


Amna said her brother, whose wife divorced him two years ago, has been held without trial for eight years, and now faced an “uncertain future.”

“We’re very frustrated. We miss him terribly. He’s a very important member of our family. I have four children, they adore him, they go and visit him in prison. It’s been a very difficult time for the family."

MORE: Julia O'Dwyer Speaks Out Against ECHR Ruling

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“It feels like there’s a great empty space in our lives until Babar comes home. We’re going to fight this right to the end. He knows that and he has got that reassurance that his family are going to be fighting for justice, for as long as it takes.”

She said she was concerned about his mental health, saying “there’s only so much a person in that condition can do”: “He reads a lot. He made a matchstick model out of 25,000 matches of a mosque, he does a bit of art, a bit of poetry. He’ll read as well. He does try to keep his mind active but there's only so much a person in that condition so we do worry about his mental state. He tries to sort of stay positive and tries to keep himself as busy as possible.”

Amna compared her brother’s case to those of Gary McKinnon, Chris Tappin and Richard O’Dwyer, who are all facing or have lost appeals against extradition to the US.

But she claimed that as a Muslim facing terror charges the “public favour” in his case is less strong.

“We're not afraid of a trial. We're not afraid of him being charged with anything. We're actually asking for that. So that he can have an opportunity to see the allegations, to see the evidence, to be questioned in an open court of law with a jury of his peers,” she said.

“This morning he was very, very disappointed. It's sort of a cross between disappointment and frustration at our authorities at letting down their citizens like this. How long is this going to go on? Yesterday it was Chris Tappin, today it’s Babar, tomorrow it’s going to be somebody else. How long is this going to go on?

“I’m worried that if he’s sent across to the United States firstly they’ll hold him in solitary confinement pre-trial like they did to Chris Tappin, they’ll probably be worse on Babar than they are to Chris Tappin.

“There’ll be no pressure on the United States to hurry up and do a trial so he could be in those conditions for years. Then the worry is the prospect of him facing life without parole in solitary confinement.”

In a statement on Tuesday morning Ahmad’s family said they would fight the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling - and Amna claimed the media were using the ruling’s association with Abu Hamza to twist the real issues.

“What the European Court of Human Rights did is they collected cases that faced similar human rights arguments into the same group and considered them together. Unfortunately we are hearing a lot in the press saying ‘Abu Hamza and his mates need to go’ which just shows you how narrow minded people’s perceptions of things are but also the media is using spin to make Abu Hamza the spearhead of a campaign of six very different individuals with very different cases.”

She added: "I wouldn’t say I’m angry. I'm frustrated and I'm confused and I really, really want some answers from the British government.”

Abu Hamza Extradited
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Hamza, the controversial preacher, came to the UK in the 1980s to study, before marrying his now ex-wife, Valerie Fleming.
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