Friday, 5 October 2012
I feel uneasy about the extradition of a batch of five men to the US. The five cases are very different. Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan are British citizens. Ahmad was picked up in 2003, when the Iraq war was raging. He was paid £60,000 compensation because police treatment was judged to have been tantamount to torture. He and Ahsan have been in prison without charge for 8 and 6 years respectively. Al-Fawwaz and Abdul Bari are Saudi and Egyptian respectively, and have been imprisoned without charge for 14 and 13 years. Abu Hamza, also Egyptian, is the only one of the five to have been convicted of a crime in Britain. He lost his hands defusing a mine in Afghanistan, when he was one of Britain and America's Mujahid allies fighting against the Soviet occupation. Now they are to go to the US under the infamous extradition treaty of 2003, which does not require the Americans to supply any evidence against them. What sort of treatment they will get there seems very uncertain, given that none of the people involved in torture during the Bush presidency has been charged with any offence, and given that there are still inmates of Guantanamo who have not had a proper trial.