Protest outside the Royal Courts of Justice

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.

Take Action

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

In the US, you can find how to contact your member of Congress at Find your representative or you can contact your senator here.

More information

Action Alert from the Free Babar Ahmad Campaign

For more background about Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan, watch the video Extradition at www.extraditionfilm.com

For information and updates about Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan, “like” the Free Babar Ahmad and Free Talha Ahsan pages on Facebook.

Also see:

3 thoughts on “British men in incommunicado detention in the USA

  1. I have written to the Home Office regarding this situation. I have made the point that the US Admin has totally recanted on all their purported benevolence and commitments towards ethical conduct. Despite the vast number of contentious issues regarding the generic conduct of the US Admin; the Home Office has shown absolute trust towards them. They have surrendered all these men to a very dubious regime; with no real safeguards what so ever; other than another “memo of understanding” that’s not worth anything. I do believe we must have a continued vibrant and dynamic campaign; which must not loose momentum. The Home Office will be counting on the campaign loosing all momentum and fading into obscurity. I would like to see a campaign that makes the point that we cannot trust the US Admin; and takes that point diversely to a wide audience.

    Reply
    • The momentum is lost already. Everyone seems to have given up on Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan apart from their families. Even Muslim communities now accept that they are finished and the outcome is a foregone conclusion, so they see little point in channelling more effort into it. The autism and Asperger syndrome communities are not interested in Talha Ahsan. They have got what they want with Gary McKinnon and extradition is now off their minds. If Caroline Lucas continues with the campaign then she risks sounding like a broken record and turning off potential Green Party voters. The problem is that incommunicado detention is STANDARD PROTOCOL for terrorism suspects. Telling the US to open up communications would be attempting to break protocol so requests will almost certainly be ignored. I have written to the Foreign Secretary and I have had no reply. I have written to the US Attorney General and I have had no reply. My MP says it is now out of the hands of Parliament as they are both in custody of the US government.

      Reply
  2. Babar Ahmad made his first call home on Thursday 8 November after being extradited on 5 October. It was the first time his family heard from him in five weeks. His mother said she will be able to sleep peacefully tonight for the first time in over one month.

    There’s still no word from Talha

    Babar is in good health but feeling very isolated being locked up on his own 23 hours a day. He has sent letters to the family but these have not been received.

    The Free Babar Ahhad says thank you to all supporters who contacted the Foreign Office and British Embassy this week to break the isolation. Please keep up the pressure to ensure that the letters he is sending his family are sent out and that regular telephone and written contact is established.

    Reply

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