Whatever the final outcome, Babar Ahmad’s case is a humiliating indictment of British ‘justice’
The lead news in the UK has been the interview with our brother Babar Ahmad – the UK’s longest serving prisoner – who has not been charged, tried or even allowed to see the evidence against him yet has been in a maximum-security prison for over 7 years.
I sincerely pray Babar Ahmad is released without any charge. From what I understand, he is being accused of promoting the cause of Chechen Mujahedeen via a website, at a time when not only Muslims saw this as a legitimate struggle against brutal Russian repression but even the West labeled it as such – not unlike the way the UK media recently praised the struggle of those who went from the UK to help fight to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya. Yet when it does not suit their politics they call a man an ‘extremist’ or ‘terrorist’ for helping those who struggle against zulm.
Until this evening I felt the argument to put Babar on trial in the UK in order to stop his extradition seemed a little strange. Why, when the system here has so much injustice, would you ask to be judged by the UK courts?
But Babar Ahmad’s gently spoken challenge to the British legal system on television tonight was a devastating indictment of the system. How humiliating for Britain’s justice system that he has to politely ask for what they should have done anyway!
By asking to be put on trial in the UK he is exposing the systemic failure that has robbed him of his life. Either the evidence to prosecute him in the UK is available and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has left him to rot for more than 7 years for no good reason or there is insufficient evidence to launch a realistic prosecution against this man, and therefore the injustice against him is even greater.
And to add insult to injury some people in wider society in the UK are unaware that the Metropolitan police had to pay Babar compensation for a brutal assault he suffered whilst in their custody. No one has been convicted for the assault.
The contributions from a so-called ‘terror-expert’ Evan Kohlmann and former US prosecutorslike David Raskin were, frankly, like a sick joke – and summarized much of the problem with the discussion on this and other ‘terrorism’ related cases. Raskin had the arrogance to argue that the US constitution was ‘generous’ to those defending themselves against prosecution. Maybe he’s right, if you are a US soldier accused of murdering civilians in Haditha in Iraq. But try telling that to Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the Muslim sister from Pakistan, who is a neuroscientist abducted in Karachi, held in Bagram in secret for years, and sentenced in the USA to 86 years imprisonment for allegedly trying to murder US troops (- and during the alleged attack in which she was unarmed, she was the only person who was shot and injured!).
In the Quran, Allah tells us that we should stand for justice even if it is against ourselves, and to never let ourselves be influenced by our interests or prejudices.
O Believers! Be persistent standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it is against yourselves or parents or close relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is well able to look after them. So follow not [personal] inclination, so that you can act justly – if you distort or neglect justice, then Allah is fully aware of what you do [Surah al Nisa – 4:135]
That is a standard of justice needed in the world today. Yet even in Muslim countries we see them copying Western systems like the British one, where all too often justice ends up affected by political interests and peoples’ prejudice.
We need, in the world today, a standard of justice, like that narrated from the mother of the believers, ‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her), who narrated that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “ Shield Muslims from hudud as much as you can, if a person has a way [e.g., alibi] let them go for it is better for a judge to make a mistake in dismissing charges than in applying the punishment on an innocent. ” (at-Tirmidhi)
Yet some people in the Muslim world who seem bewitched by the talk in the West about ‘human rights’ do not see that for many politicians, experts and media in the UK a Muslim is not seen as innocent until proven guilty. For once someone is labeled a ‘terrorist suspect’ the word ‘suspect’ becomes invisible for most judges, juries and executioners in the media.
Politicians here talk about human rights but have actually punished people by their legal process – by imprisoning an innocent man for over 7 years [until you prove him guilty, remember] who was accused of running a website [however ‘extremist’ they say it was, that was what he was supposed to have done]; separating him from his family; beating and humiliating him during arrest; and where the government tries to cover things up by attempting to block the transmission of his interview.
And yet we have the blind assumption in some parts of the world that this is a system that delivers justice and the rule of law – instead of looking to the Kitab of Allah and Sunnah of His messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) as the source for how to establish justice.
But whatever next week’s judgment from Strasburg about his extradition, the fact the system has punished Babar Ahmad in this way means the British government will find it harder to lecture China, Zimbabwe or Burma about their practices when their own system does injustice like this.
As Allah Almighty tells us in the Quran [TMQ]:
‘ And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed – then it is those who are the oppressors.’ [Surah al-Maidah 5:45]
Dr. Abdul Wahid is currently the Chairman of the UK-Executive Committee of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain.