Ahmad is fighting extradition to the US where he is wanted on charges related to terrorism for offences which he allegedly committed in the UK. The letter, signed by a number of academics, marks the eighth year of his detention- the longest anyone has been held without charge in the UK.
From the Guardian letters:
“Today, on the eighth anniversary of Babar Ahmad's detention without trial in the…we write to demand that the Crown Prosecution Service put him on trial immediately in this country.
“Babar Ahmad is a British citizen accused of crimes allegedly committed in the UK. Given that the evidence against him was gathered in Britain, it seems only right that he should be tried in a British court of law. Indeed, in 2005, district judge Timothy Workman, then the most senior extradition judge in the UK, said of Mr Ahmad's case: "This is a difficult and troubling case. The defendant is a British citizen who is alleged to have committed offences which, if the evidence were available, could have been prosecuted in this country." Instead, he has been detained without trial for eight years awaiting extradition to the US.
“For more than seven years the CPS insisted there was insufficient evidence to charge Mr Ahmad, only to admit in November 2011 that it had never reviewed all the evidence seized from his house before it was sent by British police to their US counterparts. In light of the fact that we now know that the evidence should have been available, we ask that this situation is rectified at once by placing Mr Ahmad on trial in a British court. This is the only just resolution of the matter, and one that will salvage the integrity of our criminal justice system.”
Babar Ahmad’s case has drawn both national and international attention. In April, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on his case that the possibility of a life sentence of solitary confinement in a ‘supermax’ prison would not violate his human rights and that his and others’ deportation could proceed. Ahmad is now appealing this decision along with Syed Ahsan who faces the same allegations as Ahmad. The US-UK Extradition Treaty, under which the US has been able to request the extradition has been the subject of increasing criticism by those who argue that it favours the US and jeopardises British democracy and justice; two separate parliamentary committees have called for the act to be reformed (see here and here).