London: Call for end to extradition without evidence

Poet Talha Ahsan

Poet Talha Ahsan

A  packed meeting in Central London last night heard speaker after speaker objecting to the Extradition Treaty agreed  by Tony Blair with the United States.

 As  result of this treaty four young  British men, two of whom: the poet Talha Ahsan  and Babar Ahmad have now been in prison here without charge or evidence  for years resisting deportation, may be  extradited to the US in the near future.

There they face long delays, solitary confinement in a  country  to which they have never been and where they have no family or friends.

The meeting was chaired by Bruce Kent past president of Progressing Prisoners Maintaining Innocence. The first speaker was Fr Joe Ryan,  Chair of the Westminster Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission.

Quoting  from church and other human rights documents, Fr Ryan made if very clear that if these man were guilty of  crimes they should be prosecuted here,  where the alleged crimes were committed, not in a country to which they have never been.

Other speakers were Isabella Sankey of Liberty, and Victoria Brittain,  journalist and human rights campaigner.

David Bermingham who had been extradited on financial charges and had to accept a plea bargain  in order to get back to this country spoke of the unjust procedures the four would face if extradited.

A powerful poem, about the ongoing loving caring presence of God, written by Talha Ahsan was read by Riz Ajmed, actor and author.

All present were urged to ask their MPs to oppose that section of the current  treaty which allows for extradition without evidence being produced.

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