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Campaigns > Babar Ahmad
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I have been very concerned about the situation regarding Babar, and I have taken a number of steps to try to help his case, and support his family and friends ever since he was first arrested and since being elected as the MP for Tooting. I asked for a meeting with the Home Secretary in order to discuss Babar’s case with him prior to the 16 July extradition deadline. I also hosted a cross party meeting in parliament on 4 July organised by the family, friends and supporters of Babar Ahmad, highlighting concerns about the Extradition Treaty.

Unfortunately, the Home Secretary has allowed the extradition request. Babar Ahmad's lawyers have now appealed to the High Court and he is awaiting a hearing that should begin shortly.

I have added my name to an Early Day Motion which urges the Government to amend parts of the Extradition Act 2003. I have also been asking my parliamentary colleagues to sign the EDM too. You can read the text of the EDM here.

At the moment, the United States can make extradition requests to the United Kingdom without having to provide prima facie evidence about the case. However, the same is not true in reverse, and this points to an inequity in the extradition law. 

This issue is obviously very relevant to Babar’s situation. In his case, no prima facie evidence will be provided by the US, and Babar may be put on trial in a country that is not his birthplace or residence. Furthermore, the alleged charges brought against him were not committed in the US.

I believe that the issue is one of principle. If there is evidence against Babar Ahmed, he should face trial here in the UK.

Babar has a lot of support from the local Tooting community, and I will continue to take a close interest in the case.

I have recently written a Foreword to a Report entitled A Counter-Productive Extradition Policy- The Effect of the Babar Ahmad Case in Radicalising Muslims in Britain by Khalida Yusuf. I forwarded a copy of this report to all Parliamentarians in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. My Foreword can be read below:

 

I have known Babar Ahmad for over fifteen years. We both grew up in Tooting. We have both been privileged enough to go to university and to gain good jobs afterwards.

Unfortunately our lives have taken quite differing directions in the last couple of years. Whilst I have been fortunate enough to be elected to Parliament to represent the constituency of Tooting, Babar has been detained in Woodhill Prison. He has been in prison now for two years, awaiting extradition to the USA.

There are concerns with the case against Babar, from reservations with the case for the prosecution to the grounds for his extradition. There are also concerns about the treaty which allows the US authorities to remove him from the UK: his country of birth, where he and his family have lived peacefully, where has paid taxes and, perhaps most crucially, where the charges that he is facing are supposed to have occurred.

It is noteworthy that the British Police and Crown Prosecution Service have decided that there is no basis for Babar to be charged for any criminal offences here in the UK.

At the moment, the United States can make extradition requests to the United Kingdom without having to provide prima facie evidence. However, the same is not true in reverse, and this signifies an inequity in the extradition law.

The point is not whether Babar is innocent or not, the point is that if he must stand trial it should be in front of his British peers, here in the UK, rather than in the American courts. It is only here that Babar will have his family and friends for support and the ability to mount a proper defence.

At present, as I write this, Babar is still awaiting extradition. He has an uncertain future ahead of him. His family and friends have been united in their support for him and their faith in him. They deserve our utmost respect.

The communities in Tooting have also shown their solidarity with Babar. This is not because of his personality, but because of the principles involved. This makes me even prouder to be the MP for Tooting. 

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