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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 May, 2005, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
Terror suspect facing extradition
Babar Ahmad
Babar Ahmad, pictured in green, is fighting extradition to the US
A judge has ruled that British terror suspect Babar Ahmad can be extradited to the United States.

The district judge told London's Bow Street Magistrates' Court it was a "difficult and troubling case".

Mr Ahmad, 31, a computer expert from London, is accused of running websites that supported terrorists and urged Muslims to fight a holy war.

The case has been sent to the home secretary for final approval and Mr Ahmad has the right to appeal.

BBC home affairs correspondent Andy Tighe believes an appeal is likely, in which case the matter would be decided in the High Court.

In claims dating back to 1997, the US government has accused Mr Ahmad of "conspiring to support terrorism", saying he "sought, invited and solicited contributions" via websites and emails.

The US Department of State has claimed that websites run by Mr Ahmad, who is from Tooting, south London, urged Muslims to use "every means at their disposal" to train for jihad, or holy war.

Terror allegations

The websites are said to call for support for terrorist causes in Afghanistan and Chechnya, as well as encouraging the transfer of money and useful equipment via the sites.

Lawyers representing Mr Ahmad said he would be at risk of the death penalty if he was sent to the US and transferred to military jurisdiction.

But senior district judge Timothy Workman, who described the matter as "a difficult and troubling case", decided that "none of the statutory bars apply" to refusing extradition.

He said it would be up to Home Secretary Charles Clarke to decide if Mr Ahmad should be sent to the United States.

If our government has any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Babar Ahmad then he should be charged in this country and put on trial here
Iqbal Sacranie
Muslim Council of Britain

Judge Workman told Mr Ahmad that he had the right to appeal to the High Court.

Any extradition order would come under UK legislation designed to speed up the extradition of suspected terrorists, which came into force in January 2004.

Under the act there is no requirement for the US authorities to present a prima facie case, although UK authorities must do so in seeking extraditions from the US.

Muddassar Arani, the defendant's solicitor, said the decision had been political and her client made a "scapegoat".

And Mr Ahmad's wife, Maryam, said: "We will fight to the end. We will never give up.

"We believe we are not just fighting for Babar but for any other British citizen who can be subject to such a treaty which is one-way and will deny fundamental human rights."

Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "If our government has any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Babar Ahmad then he should be charged in this country and put on trial here."




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Terror suspect condemns charges
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