The family of extradited British citizen Talha Ahsan has held a one-year anniversary vigil in Parliament Square.
Ahsan is an award-winning British Muslim poet and translator who has been detained for over seven years without trial. He was extradited to the USA on 5th October 2012 with his co-defendant Babar Ahmad, via the controversial US-UK Extradition Treaty, on allegations relating to association with the obsolete Azzam websites from 1997-2002 covering Bosnia, Chechnya and Afghanistan.
Hamja Ahsan, Talha’s younger brother and campaign leader, said: “We remember Talha today so that tomorrow no more British families will be subject to this ordeal.
“The nightmare of extradition became a reality exactly one year ago today – Talha has been a year in pre-trial solitary confinement. It has been a terrifying ordeal for our entire family – with no contact allowed in such an extreme isolation prison regime, meaning our mother cannot even hug her own son.
“Talha could have received a trial in the UK if our rotten and unjust extradition laws were amended in time and in line with the recommendations of the Human Rights Select Committees and the guidelines of Liberty. We still hold out hope for Talha’s repatriation – bring Talha home!”
Talha has Asperger’s Syndrome and there is grave concern for his mental health. He is now in pre-trial solitary confinement in a Connecticut Supermax prison. His diagnosis with Asperger’s syndrome has raised comparisons with the case of Gary McKinnon. Talha trial has been delayed to March 2014.
Muslim Council of Britain Secretary General Farooq Murad said: “Many hundreds of thousands in Britain signed the petition against their extradition (Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmed) and calling for a trial before a British judge but it was to no avail.
“We now call on our Government to press the US Attorney General to grant the two men bail while awaiting trial and preparing their defence. Both men have suffered long enough, as have their families. However it is never too late for compassion.”