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Why is Babar Ahmad's 140k Campaign Dismissed by Parliament?

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

In the name of God, Compassionate, Merciful بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمِ | Peace be with you السلام عليكم

British Parliament dismisses over 140,500 calls for a Commons debate on Babar Ahmad. 

What is the point. For the past three months, the case of British prisoner Babar Ahmad was thrust into public light again as an online petition was set to gain 100,000 signatures. When the petition closed, and signatures had hit over 140-thousand, his supporters were quietly optimistic. But a Commons committee says it will be included in a wider extradition debate in without a vote.

Of all the petitions ever put up on this government website, spanning all issues of British life, Babar Ahmad’s is in the top three. One of only 6 to have ever got the needed number of signatures.

140,529 individuals, from all backgrounds and beliefs, united in a common cause–to end Babar’s 7 years of pre-charge incarceration and prevent his extradition in favour of a UK prosecution.


Despite anger and disappointed feelings from Muslims, resilience is the theme to a video campaigning for Babar Ahmad.

In spite of the enormous public support for the matter, the Parliamentary Backbench Business Committee has refused to list this issue for a full debate in the main chamber of the House of Commons where it could be voted on by Members of Parliament. The Free Babar Ahmad site shares the disappointing news; instead the motion has been relegated to form part of a pre-existing discussion on extradition, led by Dominic Raab MP, in Westminster Hall on 24th November 2011.


Whilst the Free Babar Ahmad Campaign support Mr Raab’s well-founded concerns over UK extradition policy, over 140,500 individuals did not take the time and trouble to add their names to Babar’s petition only for this matter to be debated outside the Chamber rather than put to a vote, on the floor of the House. So we ask then, what is the point of spending time and effort and money, following the process most noted to receive the attention of the British policy makers, only to have it dismissed?

Mr Ansari, from the Free Babar Ahmad campaign, told BBC Radio 4's World at One:
"There is an assurance on the petition website saying this is a way for the public to influence government policy, for them to suddenly dismiss it in this manner and say: 'You will have your discussion in Westminster Hall', which anybody who knows anything about politics knows makes no difference whatsoever to the issue.
"It just shows the level of disrespect which the government has shown to 141,000 people." (BBC)

Another BBC article also asks what is the point of e-Petitions?

Now people have raised their voices – through the correct channel – the FBA Campaign will not rest until they are properly heard. The FBA Campaign vows to make urgent contact with every MP representing each of these 140,529 signatories, to seek their support in securing proper consideration of Babar’s plight and its causes, in the Chamber of the House of Commons.

If time cannot be allotted in the parliamentary schedule pre-Christmas, then FBS will seek early inclusion in the New Year’s parliamentary scheduling.

The family of Babar Ahmad stated:


“We are deeply moved that, in the midst of a recession, more people have shown Parliament their concern over a British citizen being detained for over seven years without charge or trial, than lowering fuel prices. They deserve nothing less than to have their concerns properly debated and put to a vote.”

“Other e-petitions which have secured over 100,000 signatures have been debated in the main chamber of the House of Commons. The decision to treat this e-petition differently is a slap in the face of over 140,500 people who demanded that Babar be put on trial in the UK.”

“Now that it is clear that the call to put Babar on trial in the UK has not just cross-party backing but also enormous public support, we believe the correct forum for debate is the main chamber of the House of Commons, where the matter can be subjected to a vote.”
Babar Ahmad's father spoke in an interview with PressTV to share his appreciation of public support.

This is what you need to do.
Contact your MP to demand a full debate and participation on Babar Ahmad's case on the 24th November 2011.

Write to the Parliamentary Backbench Business Committee. Please also write to each member of the Parliamentary Backbench Committee who made the decision to allocate this debate to Westminster Hall. If you cannot write to all of them, please write to at least one. A sample letter and online form on the FBA site can be used immediately.

For further reading:

1. The e-petition can be viewed at: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/885M

2. A complete timeline of Babar Ahmad’s case from the moment he was arrested on 2 December 2003.

3. On 1 November 2011, Mr. Dominic Raab MP, requested a full Commons debate on extradition. His motion had cross-party support in addition to the backing of the respective chairs of the Joint Committee on Human Rights and the Home Affairs Select Committee. Mr. Raab referred to the fact that at that point, over 70,000 people had signed the petition to put Babar Ahmad on trial in the UK. The Committee rejected Mr. Raab’s request in favour of a request for a debate on cheaper fuel on the basis that over 100,000 people had signed an e-petition calling for it. Over 30,000 more people have now signed the e-petition for Babar Ahmad than that for cheaper fuel.

4. Babar Ahmad is the UK's longest detained-without-charge British Citizen having been in prison since 05 August 2004 (over 7 years). He is held under the UK's controversial Extradition Act 2003 which allows British Citizens to be extradited to the U.S for alleged offences that took place in Britain. The CPS has repeatedly declared that there is 'insufficient evidence’ to charge Babar Ahmad with any criminal offence whatsoever.

5. During his arrest in London in 2003, Babar Ahmad was violently abused by Metropolitan Police Officers. He sustained over 73 injuries.

In March 2009, the Metropolitan Police admitted carrying out this abuse and paid him 60,000 compensation. The 4 police officers responsible were later found not guilty of this abuse in June 2011, following a 5 week trial at Southwark Crown Court. At the conclusion of that trial, the Recorder of Westminster, Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC, said about Babar Ahmad's case, "I express the hope that the ordeal of a man in detention in this country for a number of years without trial is brought to an end as soon as possible...”

6. On 22 June 2011, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights explicitly raised concerns over Babar Ahmad's case in its report in 'The Human Rights Implications of U.K extradition policy' and recommended that the government urgently re-negotiate the UK- US extradition of individuals in Babar Ahmad's position.

7. The Free Babar Ahmad campaign rejects the findings of the Home Office’s review into the UK’s extradition laws which is peculiarly at odds with the findings of the JCHR.

8. Babar Ahmad's final appeal is still being deliberated by the European Court of Human Rights which is to deliver judgment by the end of 2011.

9. Babar Ahmad is represented in his extradition case by Ms Gareth Peirce of Birnberg Pierce & Partners.


Official Site {Free Babar Ahmad}

Insha-Allah, God willing.
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