Unjust Extradition of British Citizens to the US Must Stop – Public Meeting on US-UK Extradition – Speech Notes – PDF

2012 Public Meeting on US-UK Extradition Speech Notes


Public Meeting
Wednesday 23rd May
Hend House (also Zakat House),
233 Shaftesbury Avenue,
London WC2 8EE

Meeting in support of Syed Talha Ahsan, Babar Ahmad, Gary McKinnon and Richard O’Dwyer

Chair: Bruce Kent
Supported by Liberty
Speakers: Fr Joe Ryan (Chair Westminster Justice and Peace Commission), Gareth Peirce, Isabella Sankey (Liberty), Salma Yacoob, Riz Ahmed, David Bermingham, Victoria Brittain, and by Skype from New York, Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights

Thank you for inviting CCR-impt meeting-

I have been appalled over last 10 yrs-since 9/11-of utter deterioration of US Criminal justice system-whether at Gitmo or here in the US; the two systems flow into each other-the charade occurring at Gtimo-

with which most of you are familiar– cannot be separated from how defendants are tried and held in the US; the one affects the other-

entire system-from capture and arrest, to detention, trial and sentence has been corrupted-

CCR -saw early on-lawlessness of war on terror-

Roundups of hundreds of innocent Muslims; severe beatings; massive spying and surveillance of the innocent; spying in every in Mosque in America-

And entrapment by FBI agents of scores of not hundreds of young Muslim men-

These practices continue-

At CCR we were the first organization to take on Guantanamo-when others feared association with the detainees-Clive was in the US then and worked with us-and Gareth as well.

Now 10 years later the sore of Guantanamo remains -its legacy of torture, kangaroo trials and years of detention– of even those the US says should not be there-

These practices of course came home-because the underlying premise-stated openly by our former atty general Ashcroft-was that terrorists don’t deserve constitutional rights-

and sadly-that is still the operational premise -which has resulted in the bending and the watering down of what were once believed to be fundamental rights

There are slews of examples-each one tells you why-an extradition to the US is an extradition to a purgatory-

Perhaps many of you are familiar with Fahad Hashmi’s case; a US citizen extradited from the UK in 2007—

Despite US Const guarantees against cruel treatment and torture–

Fahad-young ma n in 20’s– was held for three years in pre-trial solitary confinement —for 23 hours a day–the other hour alone in a cage for “recreation” time–

He was held under SAMs–special administrative measures–restrict contact with outside world-Fahad-no contact except lawyer–one parent every two weeks -lost that for 3 months-

one letter a week -no media; censored news papers 30 days later

Challenged–3 years prolonged solitary and sensory deprivation-never able to impact it-

–ultimately–Under those conditions, and facing what has become the favorite tool of US prosecutors– material aid to terrorism–and a possible 70 years –for storing socks and luggage, in a UK apt-

He ultimately pied to one count of conspiracy sentenced to 15 years and transferred to Florence ADX. -where he remains at ADX in solitary confinement—

I can give you many other examples of the utter perversion of Justice:

  • Sarni al-Arian-accused of aiding a Palestinian group–hung jury; eventually pied; served his sentence; but not enuff–subpoenas for grand juries; more jail time; again and again—illustrates that as US has made clear at GITMO-and in the US-innocence of having served sentence is not enuff–US believe can continue to jail you–
  • of Ghassian Elashi-former head of the Holy Land Foundation-biggest Muslim charity in the US. -again accused of aiding Palestinians Hung jury, tried again—65 years-a life sentence and he too is under Sams-
  • And don’t forget Bradley Manning-US soldier and alleged Wikileaks leaker- 9 months-solitary-stripped-conditions UN rapporteur -called cidt-and said cld be torture-and our president said was all ok–

I hope you get the idea-from pre-trial detention-to trial—-to guilty plea or conviction -to prison-a corrupt system of demonization–

And -despite the claims in the recent Ahmad ECHR decision on extradition­ that US courts will hear cases about prisons conditions, treatment etc– we have been unable to affect by litigation—lost every case regarding torture; or conditions of detention or challenges to material aid to terrorism statute–

In light of this current history-I was appalled by the ECHR decision —

–took US assertions as the facts — despite evidence otherwise-on getting out of solitary, hearings. exercise, sams etc; for anyone who knows Florence ADX-the ECHR decision is a work of fiction-

None of us should be blinded by that decision or what we believe was once a fair system of justice in the US–if it ever was-it no longer is—