Terror suspects face possible abuse, court told

Its not only bankers!

Mr Fitzgerald said that the US promises of fair treatment could not be depended upon. “The court should not rely on assurances of that sort,” he said.

From The Guardian

Two British terror suspects being held for extradition to the US could face human rights violations if deported, the high court was told today. Babar Ahmad and Haroon Aswat would face “a real risk of fundamental injustice and discriminatory treatment” if they were sent to the US under the controversial 2003 Extradition Act, says their lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald QC.

The act allows criminal suspects to be deported from the UK to the US if American investigators can present a prima facie case against them, but a planned reciprocal arrangement has been blocked by the US Congress.

Mr Ahmad is accused of running a network of jihadist websites based around the domain azzam.com that provided fundraising, vetting and recruiting services to Chechen and Afghan Islamists, including Shamil Basayev, the Chechen rebel leader reportedly killed by Russian forces yesterday.

Mr Aswat was arrested in Zambia shortly after the July 7 bombings and accused of plotting with the jailed cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri to set up a training camp in the US state of Oregon to train fighters for the war in Afghanistan.

Mr Fitzgerald said that the pair faced a host of potential human rights abuses despite assurances offered to the court by US diplomats. He said that potential abuses included solitary confinement, indefinite detention under military powers, trial by military commissions, or extraordinary rendition – the process of being flown for interrogation to countries that torture prisoners.

Mr Fitzgerald said that the US promises of fair treatment could not be depended upon. “The court should not rely on assurances of that sort,” he said.

The hearing is one of a group of challenges to the extradition act currently under way. The hacker Gary McKinnon, who is accused of gaining access to restricted US military sites while searching for evidence of a UFO cover-up, has vowed to appeal to the high court after his deportation was approved by the home secretary last week.

The so-called NatWest Three, bankers wanted by US police in connection with the investigation into an ‘11.5m fraud at the collapsed energy giant Enron, are to be extradited to the US on Thursday.

Both suspects in today’s case watched the hearing via a video link to Woodhill prison, near Milton Keynes, where they are being held.

The trial brought out a crowd of protestors in support of Mr Ahmad, including the former Guant’namo detainee Moazzam Begg and Yvonne Ridley, a former Sunday Express journalist who converted to Islam after being arrested by the Afghan Taliban in 2001.

The hearing is expected to go on until Friday.

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