ENGAGE draws our attention to the welcome news that the Backbench Business Committee has now reversed its earlier decision and scheduled a full debate with a vote on the current extradition laws, to be held in the main chamber of the House of Commons on Monday 5 December.
The shocking case of Babar Ahmad has received some media attention, and it is thanks to the campaign organised by his supporters that next week’s parliamentary debate is taking place. But Babar Ahmad is not the only London Muslim to have fallen foul of the Extradition Act 2003. A less publicised case, which hopefully will feature in the House of Commons debate, is that of Talha Ahsan, who also faces the prospect of extradition to the United States.
London Assembly member Murad Qureshi raised Talha Ahsan’s case with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who unfortunatelyshowed little interest in the fate of one of the citizens whose interests he is supposed to represent. “It would not be appropriate for me to comment on a particular case,” Boris replied. But that didn’t prevent him from vociferously supporting the NatWest Three, who were subject to extradition proceedings under the same law as Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad. The explanation for this anomaly is presumably that in the case of the NatWest Three the victims were white businessmen.
Update: See “MPs ‘spread myths’ over extradition”, Press Association, 1 December 2011