From tomorrow Babar Ahmad can add convicted terrorist to his CV, along with Guardian contributor. At the district court in Connecticut the extradited Brit will plead guilty to running websites that allegedly sought to raise money, recruit fighters and seek equipment for terrorists in Afghanistan and Chechnya. This is despite years of demanding to be freed and fighting his extradition to the States. He had one very vocal supporter in this campaign: Sadiq Khan. The Shadow Justice Secretary said it was ‘truly shocking’ Ahmad had been held and was involved in the Free Babar Ahmad campaign.
Guido has written at length about the differing accounts from Khan about his relationship with Ahmad, but it is certainly clear that they knew each other as teenagers. Even if we leave this completely aside, the Shadow Justice Secretary is on shaky ground for his vocal support for Ahmad.
As Robin Simcox of the Henry Jackson Society wrote in October:
“Ahmad and Ahsan could have hopped on a plane and proved their innocence. Instead, as is their right, they chose to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the court system created by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The defendants argued that extradition to the U.S. would breach the ECHR. After years of appeals and delays, their case was dismissed by the ECtHR in September 2012.
Khan says that the decade long legal process for Ahmad and Ahsan overseen by both British and European judges saw due process ‘jettisoned’. I have no idea what he could possibly mean by this, but it would be interesting to know what about the courts’ verdict he felt was flawed.
Khan admits to a ‘fear’ that Ahmad and Ahsan will plead guilty in the U.S. Why a British MP is frightened of suspected terrorists admitting their guilt in our closest ally’s courts is anyone’s guess. Presumably he thinks the U.S. judicial system is crooked: if so, he should at least have the courage to say it.”
Despite his portfolio, Khan has said nothing about this development. Must have slipped his mind with all that campaigning for Mayor of London…