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Halt The Pending Extraditions To The United States

June 1, 2012

An Open Letter to the Prime Minister
The Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP
10 Downing Street
London
SW1A 2AA
1st June 2012
Dear Mr Cameron,
BRITISH JUSTICE FOR BRITISH CITIZENS
We the undersigned believe that the UK ’s extradition laws need urgent reform to prevent  unjust extraditions to the United States.The pending extraditions  of Gary McKinnon, Syed Talha Ahsan, Richard O’Dwyer and Babar Ahmad illustrate the current flaws in the system. Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan have spent eight and six years respectively in maximum security prisons in the UK while fighting extradition.

Extradition, while a necessary part of the fight against crime, is, for the individual concerned, and their family, a punishment and trauma in itself. It necessarily involves separation from family, friends and legal representatives. It frequently results in lengthy pre-trial detention in a foreign prison and reliance on a legal system which may fall far short of standards of British justice.

For these reasons, we believe that before an innocent person in the UK is sent anywhere, crucial safeguards need to be put back onto the statute book. We therefore call onthe Government to halt the pending extraditions highlighted above and amend the law so

  • A judge has the power to bar extradition where alleged activity took place in whole or in part in the UK, and it would be in the interests of justice to do so
  • A basic prima facie case to answer must be made in a British court before a judge can order that an extradition warrant is executed
  • Extradition is barred if the activity complained of would not amount to a criminal offence here in the UK

Britain has a proud history of fairness, due process and respect for the presumption of innocence. In keeping with this, cross-party parliamentary and public support for reform of our rotten extradition system has swelled. This includes recommendations by the Home Affairs Select Committee and the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

In November 2011, 150,000 people signed an e-petition with the call that a British citizen – Babar Ahmad – should be put on trial in the UK. For younger people in particular, this is becoming a test of whether their voice is being heeded. To fail to listen to it is not the way forward to build a socially cohesive UK with shared values and respect for human rights. We believe there is urgency in bringing common sense, compassion and humanity back into our extradition framework. We appeal to the Government to do just that, and halt each of these extraditions.

These four cases should be tried in Britain.
Yours faithfully,

Afshaq Ahmad Father of Babar Ahmad
Julia O’Dwyer Mother of Richard O’Dwyer
Janis Sharp Mother of Gary McKinnon
Abu Ahsan Father of Syed Talha Ahsan
Elaine Tappin wife of Christopher Tappin
David Bermingham
Lord Herman Ouseley
Dame Helena Kennedy QC
Sivanandran
Professor   Lee Bridges Emeritus Professor, University of Warwick, School of Law
Colin Prescod
Harmit Athwal
Liz Fekete
Catherine Freeman
Patsy Robertson
Dr Gholam Khiabany
Jenny Bourne
Dr Jon Burnett
Cilius Victor
Danny Reilly
Victoria Brittain
Caroline Lucas MP
Bruce Kent
Louise Christian
Bianca Jagger Founder and Chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation
Dr. Hany El-Banna OBE
Farooq Murad Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra Muslim Council of Britain
Professor Bill Bowring Birkbeck, School of Law
Saleem Kidwai OBE Chair of Muslim Council of Wales
Dr Javed Gill Convenor, Muslim Council of Scotland
Dr Salah Beltagui East Kilbride Muslim Community
John Hemming MP
Most Reverend Alan J Munday
Unjum Mirza Political officer London Transport Region RMT
Naima Bouteldja Journalist
Salma Yaqoob Respect Party
Yvonne Ridley
Dilowar H. Khan President, Islamic Forum of Europe
Muhammad Sawalha President, British Muslim Initative
Anas Altikriti CEO, The Cordoba Foundation
Anne Gray Campaign Against Criminalising Communities
Young Muslim Organisation UK
Mohammad Kozbar Chair, Lebanese Muslim League
Chris Nineham Stop the War Coalition
World Muslim Solidarity Committee
Nacima Khan Muslimaat UK
Abdullah Faliq, Chair Chair, Enough Coalition Against Islamophobia
Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC
Andrew Murray Chief of Staff, Unite
Dame Harriet Walter
Paul Handley
Professor Stephen Chan
Dr Daud Abdullah
Lord Hylton
Mozzam Begg Director, Cageprisoners
Dr. Shaykh Haitham al-Haddad
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari Former Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain
Rodney Bickerstaff UNISON
Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Liz Davies Barrister
Lauren Booth
Na’eem Darr CEO, MDUK Media
Kristiane Backer
Professor   John Hendy QC
John Pilger
Alan   Waddams
Angela Neustatter
Lady   Ellen Dahrendorf
Kika   Markham
Lord   Gowrie
Rory Bremner
Professor Brian Butterworth FPA
Professor Diana Laurillard
Sabby Sabby Dhalu Secretary, One Society Many Cultures
Imam Suliman Gani
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