The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that five British terror suspects, the most notorious of which is the self-styled ex-Finsbury Park mosque cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, can be extradited to the United States to be tried on terrorism charges.
While the usual cheerleaders and critics have been out in force, lost in the debate are serious questions about the repercussions of this move not just for habeas corpus and the prosecution of terrorism in British jurisdiction, but more importantly for the dubious role of the British intelligence services in secretly facilitating the activities of Islamist extremists on UK soil.
On the one hand, assumptions of guilt concerning at least two of the alleged terror suspects, Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad, appear pre-emptive in the extreme. On 19th July 2006, Talha was suddenly arrested by British police at his home. That very week, he had several job interviews scheduled to train as a librarian - although diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, Talha is an extraordinarily bright young man, who had recently graduated with first class honours from the School of Oriental and African Studies. For the last six and a half years since then, Talha has been imprisoned without charge.
25 September 2012
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