Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Extradite me. I'm British. Free Talha Ahsan.

UK Extradition Act 2003

1. The new Extradition Act 2003 was fast-tracked into UK legislation in 2003 without formal consultative parliamentary process, scrutiny or debate.

2. It allows the UK to extradite any individual to the US (and other designated countries) WITHOUT the need for the US to provide prima facie evidence to support the extradition request. In other words, the accused DOES NOT have the right to challenge any evidence provided by the US in a British Court of Law.For example, if the US seeks the extradition of 'A' to stand trial for a murder committed on, say 25 March 1998, in the US, the extradition will be approved as long as the US can provide some documentation alleging that it appears that 'A' committed a murder. 'A' does not have the right to challenge this 'evidence' before a British Judge, even if 'A' was in fact, on the date of the crime, admitted to a British hospital and has all the photographic evidence, medical records and doctors statements etc. to prove it.

3. The Extradition Act 2003 seriously erodes the judicial review for any individual sought by the US and allows the UK Government to approve these requests unilaterally, without allowing the individual to defend himself against any provided evidence in a UK Court of Law.

4. The UK is the only nation in the EU to agree to such a treaty with the US. Other EU nations either refuse to extradite their own citizens (e.g. France, Austria, Germany) or only extradite on assurances of immediate repatriation following conviction to serve the prison sentence (e.g. The Netherlands) or demand prima facie evidence.

The 2003 Treaty has resulted in lives being destroyed - Babar Ahmad is the longest detained-without-trial British citizen in the modern history of the UK. Talha Ahsan has been detained without charge for six years in an extra security jail. He suffers from Asperger Syndrome – an autism spectrum disorder. He is due to be extradited to the US, although no charges have been brought in the UK. 

Imagine being confined in a 75.5sq ft cell with only a concrete slab and thin mattress for a bed, for 23 to 24 hours a day for every day of your life - the only window is 3 inches wide looking out to a concrete pit...

Yesterday's event at was an urgent call for taking an action against the 2003 Treaty and to block extradition for Talha Ahsan. The fate of Talha Ahsan is now in an appeal at the European Court of Human Rights, who will make the decision on the validity of their extradition by July 10,2012. 

The screening of Extradition, a film that explores the injustices of the 2003 Treaty through the suffering of Babar Ahmad, Talha Ahsan and their families, was followed by a discussion with Andy Worthington, Pippa Koszerek and Hamja Ahsan. 

What can be done? Write to your MP as soon as possible! A draft letter can be downloaded here.


    Free Talha Ahsan,

    Hamja Ahsan

Andy Worthington on the UK-US 2003 Treaty

Andy Worthington- investigative journalist, campaigner against Guantanamo, Aafia Siddiqui and Cageprisoners researcher (Author: Guantanamo Files) 
Pippa Koszerek - #ArtsAgainstExtraditions leader Artist & curator. Director of Construction Gallery (Tooting) 
Hamja Ahsan - Talha's only brother and Campaign Leader of Free Talha Ahsan, media spokesman & artist / Curator  


Ver said...

First of all - great blog, I have been following for a while...well done!
It's shocking. I have been living in this country six years and I am so nit aware of the consequences of the 2003 Treaty. We don't talk about these things at art academies and I would love to know why?

Piotr Krzymowski said...

Hello Ver. I am very happy to read that you like the blog ;-)
I am afraid the problem is bigger than just the insensibility of art academies. Hence people like #ArtsAgainstExtraditions, trying to break the extensive unawarness. Follow Pippa Koszerek twitter and join their campaign -!/pippa_koszerek

fleumut said...

Participate in #ArtistsAgainstExtraditions group action

Wear an 'Extradite Me, I'm British' solidarity t-shirt as part of a flash mob.

When: 6 – 8pm, Tuesday 10th July 2012 – In conjunction with press about ECHR appeal ruling

When: 6 – 8pm, Thursday 19th July 2012 – To mark 6th Anniversary of Talha's imprisonment

Location: TBC

bush210 said...

I'm afraid I cannot download and post this letter to my MP; because I've sent him some similar ones already, and held a meeting with him regarding this issue. I've received letters from the Home Office and my MP. Whilst these were polite and professionally written; they convey that a treaty has been made with the US and it is binding. The UK Government are totally intransigent, other than an offer to try to arrange a renegotiation of the extradition treaty at some time in the distant future. This would not effect any of the cases from the past or current cases, and would take some time to come into effect. In other words, if they come under extreme political pressure, they may offer to do something, so long as it is ineffective and useless. I've got myself one of the tee shirts and will campaign as best I can.

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