Abu Hamza, Babar Ahmad and extradition to the United States

Was just looking at a picture in the Guardian of the “radical cleric”, Abu Hamza, who the European Court of Human Rights has said can be extradited to the United States, on charges of terrorism along with three others. Have still to look for pictures of the other three men, but …. well, none of them are going to look more scary than Abu, are they? But, hey, when did how a person look matter? I mean George W Bush, Tony Blair, Paul Kagame, Tzipi Livini etc. all look, well “normal”, but there are no attempts to get them in front of the ICC in the Hague and, yes, I know, the United States who likes to use and abuse that institution for its own ends, doesn’t even recognise its jurisdiction over U.S. citizens. Indeed, Washington is very good when it comes to protecting American criminals from international law.

That is why, despite Washington’s assurances that it will not “impose the death penalty or place the suspects before Guantanamo Bay-style military tribunals“, we should think very seriously about what is happening here. After all, these four men are all British citizens and while Hamza is serving a seven years’ prison sentence in the U.K.  after being convicted in 2006 of inciting hatred, at least one of them, Babar Ahmad, has “never been formally questioned about the allegations against him or been presented with any evidence”. Think about it, this man has never been charged with any crimes.

Furthermore, while emphasizing that he has never been involved in terrorist activities and “believe(s) terrorism to be wrong”, he goes on to contend that if the police and CPS had put him on trial, as they could have done, in 2003, he would have left prison a long time ago , “regardless of the outcome” and that he has been living in a nightmare “fighting extradition for the past eight years.”  Well, Mr Hamza, who is serving a seven-year sentence for “inciting hatred,” and is still to be extradited, appears to indicate that Babar might in fact be wrong on that one. Quite possibly Mr Barbar would have been sentenced and still be fighting extradition. Of course, the argument might be that the Americans will be filing very different charges against Abu and at least he has some idea of why he is in prison and why the Americans want him. For Babar, however, it is all rather Kafkaesque, even if, the Americans are accusing him of running a US-hosted website that encouraged terrorism.

Of course, whatever your politics here, you should be worried. Firstly, worried if you are a British citizen because the US and UK extradition laws introduced by the Labour party after 9/11 can have you extradited to face American “justice” for any number of reasons, as is shown we with the hacker Gary McKinnon. Secondly, if you are European, you should worry that the European Court of Human Rights has probably given into American pressure and, finally, with Ahmed apparently supposedly using an American provider to encourage terrorism …… shit, isn’t WordPress based in America?

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About sanculottist

There are a lot of poor bastards out there being used and abused; it is just not cricket "old bean". Something tells me that ignorance is not bliss, but is, in fact, simply ignorance and in the global village we cannot look the other way.
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