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Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Terror Suspect Awarded £60,000

Pictured: Babar Ahmad arrives at court earlier today to hear the judge order his payout.

BBC News reports that a terror suspect arrested in 2003 has been awarded £60,000 in compensation for his treatment at the hands of the Metropolitan Police.

On the 2nd December 2003, anti-terrorism officers and the Territorial Support Group burst into the home of 34 year old IT analyst Babar Ahmad during a dawn raid.

He is accused of raising money for terrorist organisations in Chechnya and Afghanistan via emails and websites, including notorious terror-funding site 'azzam.com'. He is currently in prison awaiting extradition to the United States on these charges, and has been since his second arrest in 2004.

Ahmad and his lawyers claim that a potentially dangerous 'choke-hold' position was used by one of the officers, and others attacked him with fists and knees in the back of the police van before forcing him into a Muslim prayer position and asking 'where is your God now?'

The Metropolitan Police denied all accusations, claiming the injuries Ahmad sustained were largely self-inflicted, caused by throwing himself around and resisting whilst handcuffed and being brought under control.

An Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation cleared the force and individual officers of wrong-doing, calling Ahmad's claims 'unsubstantiated'.

However, Ahmad sued the force, claiming he was subjected to "serious gratuitous prolonged unjustified violence" and "religious abuse" after his arrest.

The High Court agreed with his version of events, and in addition to the compensation payout at least one of the officers involved will now face criminal charges.

The reaction from Ahmad and his family was predictable:

'His brother-in-law Fahad Ahmad read out a statement on his behalf in which he said he intended to concentrate on fighting his extradition.

The statement said: "This abuse took place not in Guantanamo Bay or a secret torture chamber but in Tooting, south London.
"I would like to thank my family and all who have supported me and my campaign for justice, particularly my legal team who have spent many years fighting for me. '


A website, 'Free Babar Ahmad', was set up soon after his second arrest in 2004 at the request of US authorities. It links to a page supporting the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, so it doesn't exactly feel me with confidence that this man has no terrorist connections.

Once again, it seems justice strikes for the wrong-doer. If the officers did attack Ahmad in the back of the van I do not condone it - but the vast majority of their actions would probably have pertained to their own safety. Remember DC Stephen Oake?

The injuries on Ahmad's wrists, the only ones the BBC show, are entirely consistent with struggling whilst being restrained in handcuffs.

But no, the taxpayer must now contribute a substantial sum to his legal fund so he can wrangle his way out of being extradited to the US.

Absolute madness.

4 comments:

Dr.D said...

They make much less trouble if they die in these episodes, and there is no need to pay out cash in the end. Yes, I know, there may be injustice at the hands of the police. The London bobbies are a notoriously rough lot! But life is unfair. If he did not want to take that risk, he could have stayed home in Saudi or wherever. The only muzlims that you can be absolutely sure will cause you no trouble are the dead muzlims (except that they may stink up the place). All the rest are always suspect. That is why they must leave.

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...

Dr. D:

I'm sure he'll get what's coming to him in a US prison, have no fear. Will even £60,000 be able to save him there?

I'd heard the toughest US jails are a living hell, especially for all brains and no brawn people like him.

The very idea of suing because you got dragged about in cuffs - why resist, then?

Anonymous said...

"why resist, then?" Because it is a money maker, and it generates all sorts of publicity.

I'm not sure where you get your information on US jails, but none of them seem all that bad to me. I think we have gone soft over here.

But why do you want the American taxpayers to support this fellow when you could have sent him to nirvana and everyone would have been happy? -- Dr.D

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...

Dr.D:

I don't want you to have to support this piece of work, the FBI does for some reason.

I've watched a few documentaries about US prisons, but I suppose they only really ever bother with the very high security ones.