Help to free Talha Ahsan

Commentary from the family of Babar Ahmad

The family of Babar Ahmad welcomed Theresa May halting the extradition of Gary McKinnon but accused the Government of "double standards" and "old-fashioned racism".

A spokesman for the family said: "We strongly welcome the decision not to extradite Gary McKinnon - we would not want his family to experience the pain and suffering we have all been enduring since Babar was extradited".

"However, questions do need to be asked as to why within the space of two weeks, a British citizen with Asperger's accused of computer related activity is not extradited, while two other British citizens, one with Asperger's, engaged in computer related activity are extradited."

The We Are Babar Ahmad campaign's deputy chairman Dr. Ismail Jalisi commented, "The matter must be clarified regarding Syed Talha Ahsan who like Gary McKinnon also has Aspergers Syndrome, but was not afforded this decision that has been made by the Home Secretary. This is an unjust stance regarding the plight of two British citizens who are under duress under very similar circumstances".

Commentary from Members of Parliament

Sadiq Khan, the MP for Tooting and also the shadow justice minister, echoed the Ahmad's family sentiment of "double standards" and believes the decision will undermine the British justice system.

He said: "The government is using the Human Rights Act to prevent the extradition of Gary McKinnon on health grounds, but Syed Talha Ahsan also suffers from Asperger's Syndrome".

"This issue was raised with the British authorities by both myself and the legal representatives of my constituents, but ignored on each occasion. The obvious question people are asking is why Gary's case is different?".

He has written to Theresa May asking for an explanation of the difference between the decision to block McKinnon's extradition and allow that of Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan.

Caroline Lucas responded "The landmark decision by Theresa May today to block the extradition of Gary McKinnon is fantastic news for the campaign - and a tribute to the incredible efforts of Gary's mother, Janis Sharp, in fighting for her son's right to remain in the UK".

"It is deeply regrettable then, that other British citizens including Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan - detained in the UK without charge or trial for eight and six years respectively - were not extended the same fair treatment".

"That neither was tried on British soil before being extradited to the US earlier this month, despite the fact that any alleged offences are said to have been committed here, is completely unacceptable".

There was an extremely fickle response from David Cameron. "Gary McKinnon is a vulnerable young man and I see no compassion in sending him thousands of miles away from his home and loved ones to stand trial. If he has questions to answer, there is a clear argument to be made that he should answer them in a British court"

Strange that he did not say the same about Talha Ahsan - an equally vulnerable young man with Asperger Syndrome, whom he has happily sent thousands of miles away from his home and loved ones to stand trial, when it was clear from the outset that any allegations should have been answered in a British court.

The House of Commons debate following the decision

In the House of Commons debate on the 16th October 2012, following the Home Secretary's decision to block the extradition of Gary McKinnon, Caroline Lucas raised the question "Why, if the Home Secretary accepts that the law needs to change, did she sanction the extraditions of Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan? Surely they should also be benefiting from a fair extradition process". The reply she immediately received from Theresa May was "I consider that the process that Abu Hamza and the other four individuals went through was fair". Earlier on in the debate Theresa May stated "I have become increasingly concerned, and not just because of the recent cases of Abu Hamza and others". The specific references to Abu Hamza, but not Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan, says it all!

Continue reading - Talha Ahsan in the mainstream media

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