- Created: Thursday, 16 June 2011 13:41
- Written by Cat Wiener
In May four police officers finally went on trial charged with a vicious attack on British Muslim Babar Ahmad. Ahmad is the longest-serving British detainee to be held without charge in the so-called ‘war on terror’. He denies any involvement in terrorism. In March 2009, Ahmad was awarded £60,000 damages by the Metropolitan Police for the ‘grave abuse, tantamount to torture’ he had suffered at the hands of the four officers, all members of the notorious Territorial Support Group.
Ahmad told Southwark Crown court how, during a pre-dawn raid on his south London home in December 2003, he was repeatedly kicked and punched and subjected to verbal abuse. He was forced to the floor, where one officer straddled him and said: ‘You will remember this day for the rest of your life, you fucking bastard. Do you understand me?’ He was kneed in the thigh and punched repeatedly in the head and face. At one point he was pushed into a praying position and asked ‘Where is your God now? Pray to him.’
In the van Ahmad was put in a headlock and half-strangled until he thought he was going to die. He had sustained at least 73 forensically recorded injuries, including bleeding in his ears and urine. Six days later he was released without charge.
He was rearrested in 2004 at the behest of the United States on a bizarre and lengthy list of terrorism charges, and has been in custody in the UK ever since.
Unusually, because Babar Ahmad was under surveillance by MI5 in 2003, the entire assault was recorded by bugging devices MI5 had previously placed in his prayer room. In the appalling litany of crimes committed against Babar Ahmad, there is a grim satisfaction to be had from seeing them hoist with their own petard. The question is, in the face of such clear evidence, will his attackers finally be punished?
Support for Babar Ahmad remains vital. Extradition proceedings to the US were temporarily halted in July 2010 by the European Court of Human Rights, but the threat of extradition – and the death penalty if found guilty – remains. His supporters say he should be charged and tried in a British court, or set free. Write to Babar Ahmad A9385AG, Detainee Unit, HMP Long Lartin, South Littleton, Evesham WR11 8TZ and contact his campaign at www.freebabarahmad.com.
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 221 June/July 2011