final decision that British citizens Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan were to be extradited to the United States.
Babar Ahmad responded
by indicating that his case had "exposed the fallacy of the UK's
extradition arrangement with the US, and I can now leave with my head
held high having won the moral victory."
Not only did he expose a system that is arbitrary and unfair but he
also exposed a society that, on the whole, does not care about
protecting and fighting for the basic rights of British citizens. For
that, we should all be completely ashamed of ourselves.
From those who represent us in government to mainstream media outlets
right down to the Muslim community, we have all played a part in
allowing this grave injustice to occur under our names.
It is no secret how deeply flawed and problematic the extradition
arrangements between the US and UK are. Under such a system, every one
of us is vulnerable to being picked up and flown out without having been
found guilty of a crime. Such a process, however, has been allowed to
continue with impunity for one simple reason - we, the British public,
allow it to go unchecked.
The number of Muslim organisations, mosques and activist groups have
been minimal at voicing their concern against the human rights abuses
carried out under the Extradition Act.
Only a handful of mosques and Muslim groups across the country felt it
necessary to address and campaign for Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan. Those
organisations who did not campaign claimed that the issue was
controversial and irrelevant to the welfare of Muslim communities.
However, the reality is that it wasn't controversial at all and it was
very relevant for the Muslim community to be aware of such men and in
particular, the Extradition Act 2003.
The men facing extradition were not asking to be freed from custody.
All they were asking for was a trial in Britain - a right that is, in
theory, given to every British citizen. For due-process and basic rights
to be ignored and violated in such a manner is extremely worrying and
should be a concern for every individual living in Britain.
Grouping Abu Hamza
with Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan was a method used to cover up the
blatant injustice being exercised against these two men. What is even
more disturbing, however, is that the majority of mainstream media
outlets followed suit by headlining the events leading up to Friday as
Abu Hamza and four other terror suspects. Only a limited number of media
outlets even bothered to report on Babar Ahmad, whilst Talha Ahsan's
voice has been virtually silent apart from a few opinion pieces and blog
Let us also not forget those politicians who have failed to raise
their voices against such gross violation of basic rights. In August
2011, an e-petition
calling on parliament to debate the Babar Ahmad case attracted close to
150,000 signatures, making it eligible for a full debate. Those 150,000
signatures were, however, completely ignored by our elected leaders
when parliament refused to debate the case.
Following on from the e-petition, an Early Day Motion (EDM-128)
was signed and supported by 62 MPs. Only 62 MPs believe it is their
responsibility to challenge a system where British citizens can be taken
away and shipped to the US without ever having been found guilty of a
crime under British law.
Immediately after the ruling, the home secretary ordered
the movement of both men to the US without their families having a
chance to say their final goodbyes. The emotional ordeal these families
have gone through after years of campaigning tirelessly for their sons
to be released has been distressing, to say the least, which the
docu-drama entitled Extradition clearly portrays.
Like many of us, I could have done more to help Babar and Talha. I
could have been out on the streets campaigning, protesting and educating
people, not to mention, chasing my MP to raise this issue in
parliament. If public pressure had been stronger, the outcome and
debate, I believe, would have unfolded differently. When the time comes
to place an 'X' on our ballot paper, Babar Ahmad's face and the failure
of the coalition government to stand up for British citizens should
consecutively run through our minds.
All I can do now is tell Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan how sorry I am.
Sorry Britain and the community you was once part of, paid taxes and
integrated into failed you. Failed to stand up for the principles of
democracy and human rights on which we stand for and preach to the rest
I now urge anyone who believes in human rights, democracy and the
rule law to take a stand on this issue. Let's write to our MPs,
newspapers and local politicians to demand a review of the unjust and
controversial law. Don't wait until it is you who is fighting extradition.
Watch the Extradition Video here:
Featured in the HuffingtonPost UK and MPACUK
Copyright Reyhana Patel. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.
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