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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 August, 2004, 19:09 GMT 20:09 UK
Father defends terror suspect son
A police van transports Babar Ahmad
Babar Ahmad was remanded in custody for a week by magistrates
The father of a British man the US wants to extradite on terrorism charges has said his son is "totally innocent" and the case against him "ridiculous".

Retired civil servant Ashfaq Ahmad, 69, said: "I am no match for the resources of the United States, but I will do everything in my power to help my son."

Mr Ahmad spoke to BBC News Online at a London conference about the treatment of Muslims under anti-terror laws.

Babar Ahmad, 30, was arrested under the laws in South Kensington on Thursday.

Charges

He is being held under a US extradition warrant and on Friday was remanded in custody for a week by Bow Street magistrates.

Ashfaq Ahmad
He is an average, law-abiding young man who has never been in trouble - he has never even had a parking ticket
Ashfaq Ahmad, about his son

He faces four charges carrying sentences of between 10 years and life imprisonment, relating to alleged offences between 1998 and 2003.

The US claims that Babar Ahmad tried to solicit support for "acts of terrorism" in Chechnya and Afghanistan using websites and emails.

Details of American warship formations in the Gulf had also been found in an earlier arrest, Bow Street Magistrates Court was told.

Mr Ahmad, of Tooting, south London, was arrested under anti-terror laws in December 2003 but was released without charge.

His father argued that if evidence existed of Babar Ahmed's involvement in terrorism, police would have found it at that time.

'Lies'

"Do you really believe that a young man from Tooting was planning a terrorist attack against an aircraft carrier?" he said.

"These are wild and ridiculous lies.

"My son is completely and totally innocent. He is an average, law-abiding young man who has never been in trouble - he has never even had a parking ticket.

"My son is not a terrorist - he is a junior IT support officer."

Mr Ahmad said his son was kind-hearted and good-natured and that he spent his Sundays playing with his neices and nephews in the park.

He added that the family had only learned about many of the allegations against his son from newspaper reports.

'Nightmare'

"You must all think that my son is a cold-hearted monster, but my family are living in a nightmare," he said.

"You cannot imagine the pain or suffering we are going through, and I ask you please not to demonise my son."

Babar Ahmad had been due to give a speech at the conference about violence he claims he suffered at the hands of police following last year's arrest.

His father broke down in tears at one point during his interview with reporters on Sunday.

The retired civil servant said: "I never thought that the day would come when I would regret my 40 years of life and service in this country."




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