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Media 45: BBC did NOT report US judgement that Ahmad was not ‘interested in or involved with what is commonly known as terrorism’

It has been announced (very quietly) that Babar Ahmad has been released. No reference to the eleven years of solitary confinement and isolation in ten different prisons – or Judge Hall’s favourable assessment of Ahmad’s character and motivation.

babar ahmed2Ahmad, a computer expert from London, spent eight years in British custody without charge.

In a 2012 press release, campaigners seeking the release of Babar Ahmad recorded that nine years ago , officers from the Metropolitan Police broke down the door of Babar Ahmad’s house in a pre-dawn anti-terror raid.

Despite the Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police admitting in the High Court that his officers also carried out “a serious, gratuitous and prolonged attack” on Babar in the manner he described, a jury found all four officers charged with the assault ‘not guilty’.

He was then extradited to the US which claimed Ahmad’s alleged crimes fell under their jurisdiction because a website he ran in support of the Afghan Taliban used a server based in the US.

From the 171 page transcript of the judgment – making several other points – well worth reading:

Judge Janet Hall said in her ruling “There was never any aid given by these defendants to effectuate a plot. By plot, I mean a terrorist plot …neither of these two defendants were interested in what is commonly known as terrorism . . .

“This is not an operational case. I believe the government agrees that there were never any plots even discussed by these defendants. There was never any aid given by these defendants to effectuate a plot. By plot, I mean a terrorist plot. A plot to go out and purposely harm civilians.

What these defendants did is that they gave material support, or they sought to raise and get material support, they wanted material support to flow to the Taliban at a time when the Taliban was protecting Osama bin Laden”.

Her investigation was hampered, as she said in her ruling:

“There either are no transcripts or the transcripts were not turned over for various security reasons, or because the UK government wouldn’t turn them over to the United States, and they, therefore, could not turn them over to the defense.

“What we do have, and which the government properly turned over given they finally got access to them, are the summaries by law enforcement of what was said by this witness in various debriefings”.

In Judge Hall’s summing up:        

Janet_Hall judge“I should find first that Mr. Ahmad has no criminal history personally. He has never been convicted of a crime. But the guidelines call for him to be treated as if he’s in a Category VI, which typically is a person who has committed, at a minimum, three and up, could be more, serious felonies . . .

“I don’t think it’s right to act on what I would call an unfounded fear that a defendant might do something, like a terrorist act, and therefore we should just lock that person up forever . . .

“Maybe I’m influenced by the fact that I believe that at various times, the U.S. supported the rebels against the Russians in Chechnya, that we spoke about how the Chechens were not terrorists at the time they were trying to expel the Russians, which is the time that Mr. Ahmad was doing what he was doing on the web with respect to Chechnya.

“There’s nothing on the web to extol the terrorist acts that the splinter group engaged in in ’03. And I don’t find that Al-Qaida was any part of the Chechen rebels”.