|Flyer for Downing Srreet demonstration on 23rd June|
Syed Talha Ahsan, Babar Ahmad, Gary McKinnon and Richard O’Dwyre are due for Extradition to the USA come the 10th July unless we make something awesome happen. There they face a strange justice system and indefinite pre-trial detention in facilities which are internationally recognised as torturous, and are torn from their support networks.
The latest on the movement to reform UK-US extradition, from what I can see, is that social momentum is still being built in preparation for the Downing Street Demonstration this Saturday (23rd). Extradition was originally intended for use against fugitives, however its become perverted, if not inverted due to extremely bad law rushed through in the immediate post 9/11 period by a Prime Minister shamefully subservient to the USA to the point of destroying the lives of his own people.
There is no more important issue for us in the UK than this, it affects all of society, nationally and globally. The issues contained in Extradition are legal, philosophical, political and downright human. We must push ourselves further to act and pressure the institutions to investigate and redress the injustice. First the techie stuff, then the actionable.
So far, 42 MPs from across the parties have signed Early Day Motion 128 moved by Caroline Lucas of the Green Party, has yours? Keith Vaz , Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee has spoken to Talha and Babar via video link and is on the case of the Director for Public Prosecutions. So many reports form the political establishment point the same way, that Extradition must be reformed.
Lots of fighting talk from powerful people on this matter, but more action is essential. Virtually all of the current government voted against Tony Blair’s subservient treaty when they were in opposition, and the London Mayor is known to sympathise with the situation and the families. Meanwhile the US Embassy in London is lobbying UK Parliamentarians against extradition reform, on British soil.
There is growing disquiet also as to how the UK police handed ‘evidence’ over to the US without proper scrutiny from the UK’s own Crown Prosecution Service. This admission from the CPS emerged only late last year after the 149 421 signatory megapetition to put Babar Ahmad on trial in the UK pricked the conscience of the nation, and Parliament. Indeed, the police officer responsible for this breach of sovereignty was the same individual who had earlier been ‘interviewed under caution’ following the beating of Babar Ahmad. We hope for and invite more flows of information so that we can understand how this cruel cascade of circumstances has unfolded.
On Wednesday, in meeting room at the House of Commons, [see #extraditioncommons] Zak Goldsmith MP of how too many people’s lives have been chewed up by extradition. David Bermingham, one of the ‘Natwest Three’ extradited several years ago told us in his trademark no nonsense manner that having been through 5 jails in the UK and 5 in the USA, that if Babar and Talha get put on the plane after July 10th, we will never see them again. It is 5 minutes to midnight for the detainees.
It was profound to be breathing the same air as the four campaigns, Talha and Babar’s that I know of, and Gary and Richard’s, that I’m coming to appreciate the mothers and lawyers of.
|Postcard of the FreeTalha Campaign|
Extradition scenario is not an easy one to spell out, so thankfully there is a documentary doing the rounds. [see #extraditionfilm]The freetalha campaign is touring the country screening Turab Shah’s Extradition film, Brighton last weekend, Birmingham and Manchester last night, London later today, Glasgow and Nottingham next week.
The We Are Babar Ahmad has grown in every single dimension I can think of, Muslim, Church, Trade Union, Human Rightist, Literati and more. They are supporting the family campaigns as well as organising the Downing Street demonstration tomorrow (Sat 23rd June)
We need to lose any fear that might be whispering into our ears and immobilising us. Now is not a great time for trust levels for all sorts of reasons. But now is the time to build a collaborative relationship with justice itself.
I know that there are some in the community who shun and stay away from the family’s of the detained, and others who stay away from such issues out of what is essentially fear. However this isolation and subordination is counter-ummahtic and counter-tawhesive.
We must not make it so easy for the UK government to surrender judicial sovereignty for crimes alleged to have been committed in this country, to lock us up and post us into the arms of the USA injustice system, where pleabargaining and terrorism stitch ups are the norm and male rape is rife.
How might we do better by these vulnerable men and for the future?
- Imagine that its you or someone you love a great deal.
- Express of solidarity with families and detainees who are going through a really testing time. FreeTalha FreeBabarAhmad Richard O’Dwyr’s Mum’s Blog FreeGary
- Carry this situation into conversations in households, chickenshops, masjids and workplaces.This is where most commonsense is made. Jumma is a day when we come together to one spot to worship and meet.
- Attend the first London screening tonight @ 7pm Zakat House. For details on other screenings click HERE
- Write letters expressing depth of feeling and reasoning to elected officials. Demand actions, more than words.Writetothem. Encourage them to sign EDM128.
- Demonstrate this Saturday at Downing Street from 1pm – British Justice for British Citizens
With the sharp deterioration of protection of elementary civil rights in the US, no one should be extradited to the country on charges related to alleged terrorism. The constitutional lawyer in the White House, after all, has just made it clear that the due process provisions of the US Constitution (and Magna Carta) can be satisfied by an internal discussion in the executive branch. And that is hardly the only example. Furthermore, the prisons and the incarceration system in general are an international scandal. The shallow and evasive charges in this case strongly reinforce that conclusion. I wish you the best success in your campaign to block extradition for Talha Ahsan.
~~~~~~~~Related posts 16th May 2012 – On the Case of Talha Ahsan 10th April 2012 – On the misjudgement of the European Human Rights Commission, who even got Talha’s name wrong in the judgement.