(London, UK) Babar Ahmed who has been held longer than any other Briton without charge or trial, abused by British police officers and who was extradited to the US to be placed in conditions the United Nations have called torture, was given a twelve and a half year sentence. As he has already served over ten years in pre-trial detention, he may be out within a matter of months.
Talha Ahsan, his co-defendant was released due to his sentence equaling time already served. Ahsan, who suffers from Asperger Syndrome was controversially extradited to the US amid concerns about his health at the same time. But the British government were accused of Islamophobia after another Asperger sufferer, Gary McKinnon who was also due for extradition, had his request withdrawn on health grounds.
The charges against them stemmed from their involvement with a UK website. The Americans claimed that because for two months the website was hosted on a server based on US soil, this constituted grounds for prosecution. The US were finally able to secure their extradition despite them never setting foot onto US soil. The case of both was tantamount to a ‘legalized rendition’, CAGE  said at the time.
Asim Qureshi, Research Director of CAGE, said: 'Given that these two men were caught up in a system that seeks to dehumanise and force confessions from suspects at all costs, these sentences only be seen as a victory for Babar and Talha; the potential release of Babar within the space of a year and Talha possibly this week is something we just could not have imagined.’ 
‘Judge Hall's decision to remove Evan Kohlmann and Sajid Badat, the prosecution's two controversial expert witnesses – both of whom have frequented similar trials and delivered incriminating but often controversial testimony – on grounds that they were unreliable, proved to be a decisive factor. ‘
‘For the judge to recognise the humanity of the defendants despite the poisonous political and media climate surrounding terrorism trials is something that must be recognised and lauded. We hope that this trial sets a benchmark for future ones where the hostile media and political environment created by the War on Terror does not adversely affect the course of justice.’
1. CAGE (formerly known as CagePrisoners) is an independent advocacy organisation that works to empower communities affected by the War on Terror and to highlight abuses of due process.
2. For more information on Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan, see here: http://cageuk.org/article/sentencing-babar-and-talha-welcome-anomaly.
Contact: Mr Amandla Thomas-Johnson
Phone: +(44) 207 377 6700
27 Old Gloucester Street
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)