British terror suspect bids to halt extradition
Babar Ahmad, a British computer expert accused by the United States of raising funds for terrorism, has launched a High Court bid to halt his extradition, the Judicial Office said.
His application for a judicial review is expected to be heard by two judges in London on Tuesday along with that of radical cleric Abu Hamza and two other suspects, Khaled Al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary.
A fifth suspect, Syed Tahla Ahsan, is also likely to have his case heard.
Ahmad, 38, has been held in a British prison without trial for eight years.
The European Court of Human Rights last week gave Britain the green light to deport the five men, who have been wanted by the United States for years.
British officials had said they expected to extradite them within two weeks.
But Abu Hamza and Fawwaz secured interim injunctions preventing their deportation from Britain pending Tuesday’s hearing.
The last-ditch challenges will be heard by two senior judges, who will need to be satisfied that there is “some new and compelling factor” that has not already been mulled over by previous courts.
None of the five men will appear in court on Tuesday.
A campaign of support for Ahmad, run by his family, friends and supporters, last year sent a petition signed by almost 150,000 supporters to the British government urging that he be tried in Britain.
His father, Ashfaq Ahmad, told AFP last week there was wide support for his son to be tried in Britain.
“There’s a strong public opinion in favour of Babar being tried in this country. If Babar had been sent to prison here, he would have finished his sentence,” he said.
An attempt by an anti-extradition campaigner to bring a private prosecution against Ahmad in the hope that it will force a trial in Britain was rejected by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, on Monday.
Starmer said in a statement the documents provided by the campaigner, Karl Watkin, “appear to have been printed off from websites” and “do not provide any real support for a prosecution”.
Between 1999 and 2006, the men were indicted on various terrorism charges in the United States.
Hamza has been charged with 11 counts of criminal conduct related to the taking of 16 hostages in Yemen in 1998, advocating violent jihad in Afghanistan in 2001 and establishing a jihad training camp in the US state of Oregon in 2000-2001.
Ahmad and Ahsan are jointly accused of offences including providing support to terrorists and conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure persons or damage property in a foreign country – specifically by running jihadist websites.
Bary and Fawwaz were indicted – with Osama bin Laden and 20 others – for their alleged involvement in, or support for, the bombing of US embassies in Nairobi and the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam in 1998.
They were allegedly operating al-Qaeda’s media office in London in the mid-1990s.