Al-Fawwaz is Britain’s longest detained-without-trial political prisoner, having been in custody since September 1998. He is a Saudi Arabian citizen born in 1962 and a businessman by profession.
Khalid Al-Fawwaz is Britain’s longest detained-without-trial political prisoner, having been in custody since September 1998. He is a Saudi Arabian citizen born in 1962 and a businessman by profession. He arrived in the UK from east Africa in 1994 with his family and claimed political asylum for engaging in legal, non-violent reformist activities in Saudi Arabia.
He lived in London with his wife and children and ran the Advice and Reformation Committee encouraging reform in Saudi Arabia. Violence was not on his agenda.
After the 7 August 1998 US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, Khalid was arrested, on the same day as Adel Abdel Bary and Ibrahim Eidarous, on 23rd September 1998 by the Metropolitan Police on “suspicion of terrorism”. He was released without charge after 6 days when the UK authorities found insufficient evidence to charge him with any criminal offence.
Early on 29th September 1998 he arrived back home from the police station to a joyous welcome from his wife and children. Nine hours later, just as he was preparing to receive guests to congratulate him on his release, he was rearrested at his London home by the police extradition squad on an extradition warrant from the United States. The warrant alleges Khalid conspired with Bin Laden to murder US citizens starting in January 1993.
He has remained in prison ever since. He now has no family in the UK.
Al-Fawwaz left east Africa 4 years before the 1998 embassy bombing yet the US has alleged that Khalid Al-Fawwaz was part of a global conspiracy with Osama Bin Laden and “persons unknown” between 1 January 1993 and 27 September 1998 to wage “jihad” against the US.
It is alleged that in furtherance of the alleged conspiracy members of Al-Qaeda bombed the US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Detention and Extradition status
At an extradition hearing in 1999, Mr Evans, Metropolitan Stipendry Magistrate, ruled that it was not necessary to allege that the offence Khalid was accused of had been committed in the territory of the USA. He found that there was a prima facie case against Mr Al-Fawwaz and committed him to await the decision of the Secretary of State. This was reinforced by the House of Lords in December 2001.
On 12 March 2008 the Home Secretary ordered Khalid’s extradition to the US.
Khalid has launched a fresh legal challenge against the order on 12 February 2009 claiming his human rights would be breached if extradited as he would be sent to an American “supermax” prison.
Lawyers for Khalid al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdel Bary said conditions at the Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado would breach Art.3 of ECHR which ensures protection from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
If extradited Khalid would face life without parole in a “23/7” cell measuring 11ft 5ins by 6ft 6ins, and would be allowed out for only 1 hour a day to exercise alone in a concrete pen and would be prevented from communicating with other prisoners.
On 7 August 2009 Khalid al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdel Bary judicial review of the order extradition order was refused and the Supreme Court refused them permission to appeal this decision on 16 December 2009.
Upon receiving this news, on 21 and 22 December 2009 Adel and Khalid lodged applications with the European Court of Human Rights against the UK for the order to extradite them to the US; and on 23 December it was indicated to the UK Government that they should not be extradited until further notice.
The European Court of Human Rights sat on 14 September 2010 and has asked the parties to provide them with submissions on the following questions:
What are the lengths of sentences faced by the applicants if convicted?
If those sentences would either life imprisonment without parole or determinate sentences which would be likely to exceed the natural life of each applicant, then would those sentences be reducible (i) de iure (in principle) and (ii) de facto (in practice) (Kafkaris v. Cyprus [GC], no. 21906/04, ECHR 2008 ...)?
Is there a real risk that following any conviction the applicants would be detained at ADX Florence?
(i) would the length of time spent at ADX Florence amount to a violation of Article 3?
(ii) would they have any real prospect of entering the step-down programme?
(iii) does the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, as interpreted by the federal courts, provide equivalent protection to Article 3 of the Convention?
What relevance, if any, is to be attached to the applicants' submission that they could and should be tried in the United Kingdom (Soering v. the United Kingdom, 7 July 1989, § 110)?
Khalid is currently detained at HMP Manchester after being transferred from HMP Long Lartin in October 2010.
Write to Khalid
You can write to Khalid to express support at:
Khalid al-Fawwaz A9274AG
HMP Long Lartin