Yesterday the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human rights gave its approval for the extradition of five British individuals to the US.
The Grand Chamber decided to reject their appeal deciding that there was not enough grounds to re-examine the decision issued on April 2012 by the Strasbourg Court that concluded “that there would be no violation of the applicants' rights if extradited to stand trial in the United States”.
These men not only face serving a long sentence in solitary confinement in one of the worst prisons in the US but they have already served time here in the UK, even though they have not been charged for any crimes. Unfortunately, these men find themselves in an extraordinarily kafquaeske scenario - Khaled al-Fawwaz is actually Britain's longest serving prisoner without trial, unbelievably detained since 1998 for 14 years and Adel Abdel Bary who has been imprisoned in the UK for over 13 years without trial. In a democratic country such as Great Britain, how is it possible that we can keep people behind bars for almost decades without any charges against them?
Moazzam Begg, Director of CagePrisoners and a former detainee of Guantanamo Bay, said: "The overriding shame in the cases of Khalid al-Fawwaz, Adel Abdul Bary, Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad is that they have collectively been held in British prisons for over forty years without charge or trial. Additionally, even Abu Hamza, who most people forget has served his sentence for his conviction in the UK, has been held in prison for several years without charge fighting extradition. Had these men been convicted of crimes they would most probably have been released by now. Instead, their ordeal is about to being in the US, where with the heightened sense of Islamophobia it is hard to perceive they will receive fair trials."
As CagePrisoners has argued before the 2003 Extradition Act is a legal outrage and a serious breach of British citizens' rights, the ECHR has however decided against that. CagePrisoners urges the public to take action and to write to the DPP to take over Karl Watkins initiative to launch a private prosecution against Babar Amhad and Talha Ahsan so that they can face trial in the UK for alleged crimes committed in the UK.
CagePrisoners calls upon the government to bring an end to the ordeals of these men and not to escalate them. Justice not only needs to be done but needs to be seen to be done, and it is no restart these men's ordeal when it should be ended.
1. CagePrisoners is a human rights NGO that exists to raise awareness of the plight of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other detainees held as part of the War on Terror. We aim to give a voice to the voiceless.