A BRITISH Muslim man accused of running terrorist related websites has been offered a reprieve in his fight against extradition to the United States after the European Court of Human Rights warned the UK they could breach his human rights if he was sent to America.
32-year-old computer expert Babar Ahmad looked to have lost his long fight after the House of Lords refused him permission to appeal against his extradition earlier this week.
But the European Court of Human Rights, who were widely expected to make a similar decision, ordered the UK to put a hold on the extradition saying they wanted to give the case “proper consideration” before making a decision.
They also warned the British government that they were in danger of breaching the Human Rights Act if they extradited Mr Ahmad to America.
It is still unclear as to how long the stay will be and if the European Court of Human Rights refuses to intervene, then no other appeal stage remains and Mr Ahmad would be extradited to the US imminently.
His family, however, welcomed the news.
“This intervention by the European Court in asking for a stay is a sign of hope for us”, they said in a statement.
“We are still unsure how long this will actually be and will have to wait and see what their response is. We continue to have hope and pray for Babar’s swift return.”
Mr Ahmad, was arrested under a US extradition warrant in August 2004. He was previously released without any charge after being detained eight months earlier under Britain’s anti-terrorism laws.
Law Lords rejected Mr Ahmad’s appeal against his extradition on Sunday when concluding that two points of law presented to them were not matters of ‘public importance’.
But his family said that the refusal was a “complete travesty of justice.”
The Attorney General and the Crown Prosecution Service had confirmed in writing several times that there is “insufficient evidence to charge Babar with any crime,” they said.
Speaking from his prison in Manchester, Babar said that he felt “badly let down” by the British Government.
“I am nothing more than a man sold out by his country,” he said.
The Government has come under widespread pressure over the non-reciprocal nature of its controversial extradition treaty with the US, which came into force in the UK in 2004 but was only recently ratified by the US Congress.