Help to free Talha Ahsan

Our verdict on the decision

The management of Asperger Home Education unanimously agrees that it is the most disgusting and downright cruel example of double standards of justice in recent times that will leave a scar on the face of Britain for many years to come. The entire situation stinks of corruption, and as the events have unfolded, tell-tale signs of a politically motivated attack on Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad have begun to surface. There is still another year to go before their trials take place which will surely reveal more information. The case is far from closed.

It is very important to take into account that Gary McKinnon has admitted to his guilt and is therefore open to prosecution, whereas Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad have both been extradited on an allegation with no prima facie evidence being presented beforehand and have pleaded not guilty.

Both Gary McKinnon and Talha Ahsan have been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. Conditions resulting from Asperger syndrome has been Gary McKinnon's saving grace, whilst in stark contrast, Asperger syndrome was not taken into account in the decision to extradite Talha Ahsan.

The mainstream media have largely ignored Talha Ahsan throughout the duration of the 6 year long campaign to prevent his extradition, then smeared him as a terrorist by lumping him along with Abu Hamza who was also extradited on the same day and took all of the limelight. Only after the announcement that Gary McKinnon will not be extradited have the media given serious and positive coverage to Talha Ahsan - mostly in relation to his Asperger syndrome. On the other hand, Gary McKinnon has had plenty of mostly positive and sympathetic media coverage which dramatically helped drum up public support for his case.

Gary Mckinnon has received much support of his own MP David Burrowes, and several other hard hitting MPs including Dominic Raab and David Davis calling for his extradition to be halted. Without the help from these MPs it is unlikely that he would have succeeded. Talha Ahsan had to make do with Sadiq Khan as his MP, who didn't even bother to turn up to the debate in the House of Commons on extradition! He did however turn up to the debate in the lower chamber precisely because he wasn't allowed to say anything and was able to maintain his veneer of being a well-wisher. Serious statements of support from Sadiq Khan are harder to find than hen's teeth. Had it not been for the efforts of MPs Caroline Lucas and Jeremy Corbyn, then any debate in Parliament about Talha Ahsan would have been quietly brushed under the carpet.

We do not think the way Theresa May has handled these extradition cases has been very clever or responsible. Neither had she realised that the consequences of her decisions will provoke a high degree of anger and outrage in the Muslim communities which has the potential to result in a backlash. The outcome has sent a clear message to the Muslim community that there are two laws in this country - One law for white non-Muslims, and a another law for Muslims.

CagePrisoners have warned against the emergence of a two-tier legal system in Britain where Muslims are afforded less protection and their rights are ignored.

Chair of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, Massoud Shadjareh said, "If you're Muslim you will get extradited, if you are not, you get to stay. As Muslims we are second class citizens and we will not get the same level of protection from the British state as other citizens. It reeks of duplicity and hypocrisy. The UK operates a simple principle, 'innocent until proven Muslim'".

Chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, Mohammed Shafiq said "Talha Ahsan another suspect sent to the United States suffered from the same condition as Gary which is Asperger's syndrome; he was suicidal and had the Government acted at the time a few weeks ago to set up a Forum then they would have been put on trial in the UK".

He then stated that waiting until announcing the decision not to extradite Gary McKinnon shows the politics and perceived bigotry that exists when it comes to Muslims. It is shameful that this Coalition Government has practised racism at its core and refused to treat Talha Ahsan the same as Gary McKinnon. This decision has demonstrated the double standards applied to Muslims by the Government and some parts of wider society.

Hamja Ahsan states in an interview by The Real News Network "The Muslim community have been accused of terrorist offences, prior to that we had the Irish community, so other communities have been through this before. Japanese Americans were interned in the United States, many of the Black Panther movement were falsely framed and jailed for decades. So it's happened to other communities before. And at present, with the horrors of 9/11 and 7/7, which my brother would fully condemn, we should always remember that sometimes prosecutors can get things wrong. Sometimes intelligence can be bad.

Would Britain keep Babar Ahmed and Talha Ahsan in prison without trial if they were not Muslims? That is the central theme of the debate between presenter Tariq Ramadan and guest Hamja Ahsan on the Press TV programme Islam and Life, broadcast On the 13th October 2012.

It appears as if very few Islamic organisations in the US have picked up on this extradition, according to an internet search.

A question that seriously needs answering is why the complete silence from the National Autistic Society about Talha Ahsan despite their high profile coverage of Gary McKinnon? The NAS press release on 17th October 2012 about autism and our criminal justice system campaign work contains the statement "We were approached to support the case of Talha Ahsan and were unfortunately unable to do so directly. However, we continue to argue for the needs of people with autism to be taken into account and for appropriate adjustments to be made in criminal proceedings". Are any senior NAS officials willing to explain in detail what "unable to do so directly" means? It was reported on Facebook by Vicki Green that the 'government lackeys' of the NAS has wiped out comments she had made about Talha Ahsan on the NAS discussion forum.

These both give the impression that something very sinister is going in behind the scenes in the NAS. It must be remembered that the NAS is a 'fake' charity which receives tens of millions of pounds of taxpayer's money amounting to nearly 90% of their income, so it is plausible to say that the government has got them over a barrel about Talha Ahsan and threatened to terminate their funding if they chose to mount a high profile campaign in support of him.

There are several unanswered questions as to why so much effort was spent on extraditing Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan who are otherwise rather obscure individuals. Both men are virtually unheard of on the other side of the Atlantic and only started receiving media coverage after they were extradited. It is well known that the hacking exercises of Gary McKinnon caused hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to computer systems which provides a strong impetus to extradite him. The request to extradite Talha Ahsan is based on a flimsy allegation that a defunct website, claimed to have once provided material support to terrorist organisations during the days it was active, was hosted on a webserver in the US. There is definitely more to this than meets the eye!

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