Photo copyright © Aisha Maniar
Updated 13 November 2012
URGENT ACTION ALERT: Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan have been in US custody for over 5 weeks. Babar made his first phone call home on Thursday 8 November. Talhas’s family received their first letter from him on 13 November. The men have minimal contact with their families and no contact with the outside world apart from their lawyers and their families. Please contact your democratic representatives and (if you live in Britain) write to the British Foreign Secretary and the British Ambassador to the US to raise your concerns over this. Ask them to urge the US authorities to ensure that letters sent by Babar and Talha to their families are sent out and that regular telephone and written contact is established.
Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan were extradited from Britain to the US in the early hours of Saturday 6 October. They were then charged in the US District Court in New Haven, Connecticut with various “terrorism” offences connected with their alleged association with an obsolete muhajideen media outlet concerned with Bosnia, Chechnya and Afghanistan. Both men have entered “not guilty” pleas. Their trial is scheduled for October 2013.
They are currently being held at the Northern Correctional Institute, Somers, Connecticut in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. They have been in US custody over 4 weeks, but their families have so far received neither phone calls nor letters from them. Letters sent to them by their families have not reached them. The families have no idea what condition Babar and Talha are in or why they have been unable to communicate.
Both men were able to send and receive mail freely and make phone calls freely while held in British prisons pending their extradition. No security problems ever resulted from this.
Talha Ahsan is particularly vulnerable to the psychological harm that comes from this sort of isolation. He has been diagnosed as suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome and a depressive disorder.
Ahmad and Ahsan were held without trial in Britain for 8 years and 6 years respectively while contesting their extradition to the US.
Abu Hamza al-Masri, Adel Abdel Bary and Khaled al-Fawwaz, all of whom were extradited from Britain to the US at the same time as Ahmad and Ahsan, are most probably being held under similar conditions of isolation. All are charged with terrorism-related offences; all have entered “not guilty” pleas.
Abu Hamza al-Masri is a British citizen (by marriage) who was born in Egypt. Adel Abdel Bary is an Egyptian citizen who was living in Britain prior to his detention there in 1999. Khaled al-Fawwaz is a Saudi citizen who was living in Britain prior to his detention there in 1998. Adel Abdel Bary and Khaled al-Fawwaz are the two longest-serving prisoners to have been held without charge in the modern history of Britain. Like Ahmad and Ahsan, these men were able to send and receive mail freely and make phone calls freely while held in British prisons.
Please contact your democratic representatives, especially if you live in the US or Britain, to let them know that you are concerned about the treatment of these men, to ask them to raise the issue either directly with the US authorities or via your country’s embassy in the US, and to urge US authorities to take urgent steps to facilitate contact between these five men and their families.
In the UK, you can use www.writetothem.com to contact your MP
If you live in the UK, please also contact Foreign Secretary William Hague and the British Ambassador to the US, Sir Peter Westmacott:
contact the Foreign Secretary, the British Ambassador, and Your MP
If you don’t live in the UK, please also send a letter to the British Ambassador to your country. You can find the details at Find an Embassy
For more background about Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan, watch the video Extradition at www.extraditionfilm.com
- Home Secretary shows contempt for Human rights, justice and Muslims – statement from SACC
- The imminent extradition of Khalid Al-Fawwaz by former barrister Frances Webber
- Adel Abdel Bary: Egypt puts British justice to shame by writer and journalist Victoria Brittain
- Abu Hamza al-Masri: untold story of the man Britain loves to hate by former Guantanamo prisoner Moazzam Begg