Babar Ahmad update
This message from the Free Babar Ahmad campaign:
It has now been one month since Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan were extradited to the US. Without being permitted to even make one final telephone call to their loved ones, they were transferred into the custody of US marshals and flown to Connecticut, where they are now in 23 hour solitary isolation.
Since their extradition, neither Babar nor Talha have been able to telephone their families or write to them despite sufficient funds having been transferred to them to do this. Furthermore, letters which the family members have sent to the men have not been given to them, increasing their isolation. The families have no idea what condition Babar and Talha are in or why they have been unable to communicate.
We request all campaigners and supporters to write to the British Foreign Secretary, the British Ambassador to the US and and your own Member of Parliament to request that they urgently intervene to ensure that regular contact is established between the men and their families.
More details, including addresses and template letters, are available here from the Free Babar Ahmad website.
TUC Demonstration: Join the Coalition of Resistance Team
Saturday 20 October
9am Embankment and Temple tubes
This message from the Coalition of Resistance:
Coalition of Resistance has produced thousands of No Cuts placards and a 'demo special' broadsheet which includes statements from Tony Benn, Len McCluskey from Unite, Frances O'Grady the new General Secretary of the TUC and Natalie Bennett the new Green Party leader.
We are organising two big teams to help distribute these materials for free throughout the demonstration. We will then march as a Coalition of Resistance contingent.
We need volunteers to help! We will have two meet up points: 9am at Embankment and Temple underground stations.
Please email email@example.com or phone Sam on 07872 481769 if you can join our team.
Europe Against Austerity action conference
Sunday 21 October, 11am - 4:30pm
Across Europe millions of people are taking to the streets to demand an end to austerity. There is an urgent need to link up these struggles.
On the 21st October there will be a Europe Against Austerity conference organised by the Coalition of Resistance and hosted by Unite at their London headquarters.
This will be an important opportunity for trade unionists and anti-cuts activists to discuss plans for future common action. The conference is nearly full so please us know immediately if your organisation would like to send a delegate. The provisional agenda for the day is below.
We will be livestreaming this event from our website for those that cannot make it.
More information from the Coalition of Resistance website, here.
Statement by Babar Ahmad on Extradition Ruling
5 October 2012
This press release is from the Free Babar Ahmad campaign.
Babar Ahmad today stated: "Today I have lost my 8 year and 2 month battle against extradition to the US. I would like to thank all those over the years who supported me and my family: lawyers, politicians, journalists and members of the public from all walks of life."
“By exposing the fallacy of the UK’s extradition arrangements with the US, I leave with my head held high having won the moral victory."
Ashfaq Ahmad, father of Babar Ahmad, stated: “After over 40 years of paying taxes in this country, I am appalled that the system has let me down in a manner more befitting of a third world country than one of the world’s oldest democracies."
“It seems that the Metropolitan police, the CPS and even the Court have all colluded to implement a pre-determined decision which was made in Washington.”
“We will never abandon our struggle for justice and the truth will eventually emerge of what will be forever remembered as a shameful chapter in the history of Britain.”
For further information, visit www.freebabarahmad.com
Parliamentary meeting invitation: Shaker Aamer
A Decade of Injustice: Why is Shaker Aamer Still in Guantanamo?
Monday 29 October, 7pm-9pm: Room 15, the House of Commons (St. Stephen’s Entrance)
Meeting hosted by Jane Ellison MP on behalf of the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign.
This invitation is from the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign.
Speakers invited: Clive Stafford Smith OBE, Jane Ellison MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Sarah Ludford MEP, John McDonnell MP, Omar Deghayes and Terry Waite CBE.
We will show the new short video by Spectacle called “Shaker: the Decade of Injustice.” This will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A to focus on how we can all work for Shaker Aamer’s release and return to the UK.
Please note – arrive in good time for the meeting. Allow 20 minutes to clear security at the House of Commons. The House of Commons is a no-smoking zone and we are requested not to take in any food.
For further details, contact SSAC: 07756493877
Babar Ahmad's Family Respond to ECtHR Ruling
This message from the Free Babar Ahmad campaign:
24 September 2012
In response to tonight's news that the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has rejected Babar Ahmad's appeal against his extradition, the family of Babar Ahmad stated:
"The decision of the Grand Chamber is largely irrelevant to us as this matter should never have come to this stage had the British police done their job almost nine years ago and provided the material seized from Babar's home to the CPS rather than secretly passing it to their US counterparts.
"The CPS is now in possession of all that material which forms the basis of the US indictment and should immediately prosecute Babar for conduct allegedly committed in the UK . There is enormous public interest in Babar being prosecuted in the UK , as reflected by the fact that almost 150,000 members of the British public signed a government e-petition to this effect last year. Moreover, a British businessman Karl Watkins has recently commenced his own private prosecution of Babar based on the principle of the matter."
"We now call on the Home Secretary to immediately undertake to halt any extradition until the Director of Public Prosecutions makes a decision on the material that is in his possession."
New Film on Babar Ahmad
This message from the Free Babar Ahmad campaign:
A new documentary, 'The Story of Babar Ahmad' has been produced by an independent film-maker Bilal Abdul Kareen. The film examines the case of Babar Ahmad from the initial assault on him by the police right though to his ongoing detention without trial pending extradition to the US and the police mishandling of the material seized from his home. It features a number of interviews with prominent solicitors, barristers, politicians, activists and members of Babar Ahmad's family.
The documentary can be viewed at the link below:
Take Action Now: Write to the DPP and Request Babar Ahmad is Put on Trial in the UK
Babar Ahmad's solicitors have now asked the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights for permission to appeal the decision of the European Court of 10 April 2012 when it ruled against Babar. Its decision is expected by September 2012. It is crucial that the DPP understands the level of public concern at British justice being outsourced to the US and that there is enormous public interest in prosecuting him in the UK.
We request that on viewing the above film, you take action in support of Babar Ahmad by writing to the Director of Public Prosecutions and ask him to put Babar on trial in the UK on the basis that Babar is a British citizen accused of committing a crime in the UK with the evidence against him having been gathered in the UK.
To do so, visit www.freebabarahmad.com and simply click on the ribbon on the top left hand side of the home page which will bring up a pre-written letter, which you can edit and modify should you wish. All you need to do is enter your name and address and click 'Send'.
Please also ask your MP to make representations to the DPP in this regard. In these final weeks, every single representation made to the DPP is crucial.
Thank you for your continuing support in the struggle for justice for Babar Ahmad.
Free Babar Ahmad Campaign:
URGENT ALERT: Request European Court of Human Rights to re-examine Babar Ahmad’s case
On 10 April 2012, the European Court of Human Rights dismissed the appeal of Babar Ahmad against his extradition to the US finding that this would not breach his human rights. Babar’s solicitors have until 10 July 2012 to request permission from the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights for the Court to re-examine the case. If they grant permission, Babar’s case will be examined one final time. If they refuse permission, Babar could be on a plane to the US within days.
We are requesting all campaigners to write to the President of the European Court of Human Rights and request that he grants permission for Babar’s case to be reconsidered for the following reasons:
- The Court knowingly accepted false evidence from the UK government that prisoners in ADX Florence (where they propose to imprison Babar) spent on average 3 years only in solitary confinement before entering the ‘Step Down’ programme to end their isolation. However, the Court refused to accept accurate rebuttal evidence from Babar Ahmad’s lawyers that dozens of ADX Florence prisoners have been in solitary confinement for over 10 years, on the basis that there was not enough time to consider it. This was despite the fact that the Court had already been considering the case for almost five years.
- The Court refused to accept submissions on solitary confinement by the eminent Professor Juan Mendez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.
- The Court ruled that the ADX Florence prison regime does not amount to isolation because its inmates can shout to each other through the “ventilation system
- Just over a week after the judgement, the UK Attorney-General Dominic Grieve QC MP unashamedly admitted in public that the pressure the UK government had been applying for political reform of the ECtHR had led to rulings in the UK’s favour, such as the Hamza ruling.
- The Court concluded that imposing an irreducible whole life sentence on Babar Ahmad would “not be grossly disproportionate” (Paragraph 243 of Chamber judgement) even though he has not been accused of a capital offence, in which someone was killed. The Court came to this conclusion by lumping together six distinct cases as one without considering the individual facts of each case.
Please write to the European Court of Human Rights.
ALL CORRESPONDENCE MUST BE SENT BEFORE 10th JULY.
Judge Sir Nicholas Bratza
President of the European Court of Human Rights
Council of Europe
67075 Strasbourg Cedex
Send copies of all correspondence to Strasbourg@freebabarahmad.com
The Second Annual Corin Redgrave Memorial Event, a panel discussion entitled:
An Audit of Human Rights
2pm - 4.30pm on Saturday 30 June at the Friends Meeting House, Euston, London
We will be considering the following questions: What has the impact of the sustained attack, driven by the ‘war on terror’, been on fundamental human rights? How is it now affecting us all in the UK? And how can we meet the challenge to defend Human Rights?
With panellists Massoud Shadjareh (Islamic human Rights Commission); Ashfaq Ahmad (Father of Babar); Frances Webber (specialist lawyer in immigration and human rights); Harmit Atwal (Institute of Race Relations); Sue Conlan specialist lawyer and political advocate in immigration and asylum; and representatives or members from many more human rights campaigns and organisations. For more details click here.
Greece Solidarity Campaign
An update on the latest from the Greece Solidarity Campaign:
1. COME TO HEAR JEREMY CORBYN SPEAKING ON HIS RECENT VISIT TO GREECE at 6.30 on Wednesday 6 June. Jeremy Corbyn MP has just returned from Greece where, amongst other engagements he spoke at a 2,000 strong election rally in a northern Athens suburb. He will be sharing his experiences with a meeting of Greece Solidarity Campaign supporters and volunteers to discuss what we can do ‘between and after the elections’ in solidarity with the people of Greece. The meeting will be in the Discus Room of the UNITE Offices, 128 Theobalds Road, Holborn, WC1X 8TN (between Old Gloucester St and Boswell St – nearest tube Holborn, on Central and Piccadilly lines). Jeremy writes of his recent trip to Athens in the Morning Star (4 June 2012) -
2. On Thursday 7 June at 7 pm there is a public meeting with film report, free and open discussion – ‘If they can win, we can win – anti-cuts groups in support of Greek people. Speakers include Harry Polycarpou (AKEL), Costas Douzinas (Syriza), Paul Mackney (GSC). Venue: Greek-Cypriot Centre, Britannia Road, London N12 9RU.
3. Interesting article by Nick Malkoutzis with latest Poll results – ‘Are the numbers starting to add up for Syriza?’ representing a major shift in his assessment of the strength of support for Syriza. http://insidegreece.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/are-the-numbers-starting-to-add-up-for-syriza/.
4. The Syriza battle plan is discussed here: ‘Tsipras sets out SYRIZA's plan for rejecting memorandum’ -
5. On Sat 9 June 2012, 15.00-17.00pm, Vassilis K. Fouskas (Richmond University), Bülent Gökay, Keele University and Marina Prentoulis, UEA, speak on ‘The Fragmentation of the Euro-zone and the Unification of the Peoples’ - the first in a series of events aiming at raising awareness and boosting friendship among the peoples of South-Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean – at the North London Community Centre, Tottenham (Bruce Grove) 22 Moorfield Road London N17 6PY.
6. The Future is Now! Resistance 2012, 5th International Festival - Athens, 29-30 June & 1 July organized by the youth section of the Communist Organisation of Greece (KOE), at the Agricultural University of Athens. ‘Within the premises of the Agricultural university the camping of the festival – between Thursday 28.06 and Monday 2.07 – can host you for free.’ For further details contact Christos Giovanopoulos at firstname.lastname@example.org and on +30 6978 450 126.
7. Here’s hoping you are all enjoying your Jubilee extended weekend. The monarchy was foisted on Greece by foreign powers (especially Britain) and abolished after a referendum in 1974. In ancient times there had been Alexander the Great but the last Greek king was known, with no affection, as King Constantine the Little. The sharp amongst you will have noticed from the family photo of the Queen’s diamond jubilee lunch for royal families that, no doubt in a gesture of solidarity with the dispossessed of Greece, this self-styled King of the Hellenes was invited!
8. For a very useful Greek Listings newsletter, subscribe to: http://www.eugreeka.com/subscribe.
9. JOIN UP! Please use this form and send it to us if you or others wish to join the Greece Solidarity Campaign (GSC) as a supporter (free) or member (£1 per month). Obviously we prefer the latter and welcome any donations to fund our solidarity work. As a number of national unions and the South East Regional TUC have already, you can also affiliate an organisation.
Conflict in Syria:
filmed report by WORLDwrite
This message from the charity WORLDwrite:
I do hope you don’t mind our writing to you, but we thought you may be interested in our filmed studio report where volunteers pose hard hitting questions about the conflict in Syria to commentator on the Middle East, Karl Sharro. Focussing on the arguments both for and against Western intervention, Karl Sharro provides us with the understanding and principles needed to keep a cool head as the demand that ‘something must be done’ intensifies.
Click here to watch the report.
We would be delighted to read your comments on our video pages. Do feel free to embed, share, copy and pass on this programme.
Babar Ahmad update: Will the real Lord Carlile please stand up?
This update from the Free Babar Ahmad campaign:
Following the decision of the European Court of Human Rights on 10 April 2012 in relation to British terror suspect Babar Ahmad and his extradition to the US, Liberal Democrat peer and senior barrister Lord Carlile made a number of comments to the media which seem legally questionable and contradictory to opinions he has publicly stated in the past.
At the outset, Lord Carlile described Mr Ahmad’s family’s belief in his innocence as “unsurprising” and based on “filial loyalty”. Apart from this being very patronising to Mr Ahmad’s family, it fails to acknowledge a more fundamental reason for their holding that belief, one which all lawyers ought to be familiar with – the presumption of innocence. Mr Ahmad has never been convicted of the allegations against him despite being detained without trial for almost 8 years. To ascribe the presumption of innocence to “filial loyalty” simply undermines this noble principle of law.
Lord Carlile repeatedly claimed that the correct forum to try Mr Ahmad was the US, insinuating that the websites he is accused of operating targeted the United States. For example, in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, Lord Carlile stated:
“ If the target of the crime is the United States and what they’ve done is a crime in the United States then ... there is absolutely no reason why they should not be tried in the place the crime was aimed at. By the same token, if someone decided that they wanted to bomb the Olympic Games this year for example and they happened to be based in a foreign country we would want to try them here.”
He later stated in an interview with the Telegraph:
“If I sit in London and commit an offence on the internet in the United States which affects allegedly American national security and the safety of American citizens, in my view it would be entirely reasonable to be tried in the United States.”
The entire basis of Lord Carlile’s conclusion is that the websites Mr Ahmad is alleged to have operated from the UK targeted the United States. The example that Lord Carlile provides regarding the Olympic Games insinuates that Mr Ahmad, through these websites, was plotting such attacks on the United States, something that is not reflected in the words of the actual indictment. By and large, the websites are alleged to have provided support to fighters in Chechnya and Afghanistan primarily during the 1990s. By Lord Carlile’s reasoning, the correct forum to try Mr Ahmad should be Russia or Afghanistan and not the US...
Click here to read the full text of this article.
Babar Ahmad urgent alert: write to the Director of Public Prosecutions to demand a trial in the UK
An urgent request from the Free Babar Ahmad campaign:
Further to the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights which ruled that Babar Ahmad and others could be extradited to the US, the Free Babar Ahmad (FBA) Campaign urges all supporters to write to the Director of Public Prosecutions to demand that Babar be put on trial in the UK immediately.
It has now become very clear that the bulk of the evidence gathered by British police was provided directly to the US authorities without the Crown Prosecution Service CPS ever reviewing it, a fact now admitted by the CPS.
This is a very serious abuse of process which has resulted in a man being detained without trial for almost 8 years, the equivalent of a 16 year criminal sentence.
In the case of Regina v Sheppard & Whittle  involving the possession, publication and internet distribution of racially inflammatory material hosted on a remote server in the US, Lord Justice Scott Baker ruled that the UK was the appropriate forum for trial because a “substantial measure of the activities” constituting the crime (the operation, maintenance and collation of all material for the website) took place in the UK.
Babar too is accused of operating, maintaining and collating material for a website from the UK which was simply hosted by a remote server in the US for a period of a few months. Therefore, the correct forum for a trial for Babar should be the UK and not the US.
Please write to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, and request that he order Babar Ahmad be put on trial immediately.
Please send your emails to email@example.com
We encourage supporters to prepare their own letters using the above points. A sample letter is below for your convenience but a personalised letter always carries more weight.
Kindly send a copy of your correspondence and any replies received to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Dear Mr Starmer
Re: Prosecution of Babar Ahmad
I am writing to request that you order the Crown Prosecution Service to bring charges against Babar Ahmad and put him on trial immediately.
Babar Ahmad is a British citizen accused of very serious crimes allegedly committed in the UK. Moreover the bulk of the evidence against him was gathered in the UK. It seems only right then that he should be tried in a British court of law.
I understand that the CPS has for over 8 years insisted that there has been “insufficient evidence” to charge Mr. Ahmad with any offence. Yet the CPS admitted in November 2011 that they had never reviewed all of the evidence seized from Mr. Ahmad’s house before it was sent by the police to their US counterparts. This is all the more appalling when seen against the backdrop of a man being detained without trial for almost 8 years.
I am sure you are familiar with the case of Regina v Sheppard & Whittle  in which Lord Justice Scott Baker ruled that the UK was the appropriate forum for trial in a case involving the possession, publication and internet distribution of racially inflammatory material hosted on a remote server in the US. This was because a “substantial measure of the activities” constituting the crime took place in the UK, as is similarly the case with Mr Ahmad.
Almost 150,000 members of the British public signed an e-petition calling for Mr Ahmad to be put on trial in the UK and the matter has significant cross party support. Judge Timothy Workman, who ruled on Mr Ahmad’s case in 2005, said that
“This is a difficult and troubling case. The defendant is a British Citizen who is alleged to have committed offences which if the evidence were available, could have been prosecuted in this country."
It seems this evidence would have been available had the police not sent it to the US before the CPS could consider it. The situation needs to be rectified immediately by putting Mr Ahmad on trial in a British court of law so he can answer the allegations against him.
Babar Ahmad: Statement by Birnberg, Peirce and Partners
Peace & Progress has long supported the campaign to get justice for Babar Ahmad. He stood as a Peace & Progress candidate in the 2005 General Election, only the second person to stand whilst a prisoner, he came fourth after the three main parties in his constituency. Babar Ahmad has been detained without trial since 2004, pending extradition. The ECHR decision that extradition to the US can go ahead is a serious blow to his fight for justice, it was strongly criticised by his lawyers, see below, and Babar Ahmad's family say that they will appeal the decision. Peace & Progress will continue to support this campaign.
The statement by Birnberg, Peirce and Partners:
Re: Babar Ahmad and Others: European Court of Human Rights decision 10th April 2012
The European Court has decided, in large part on the basis of disputed statistics provided by the UK Government to which the Applicants were not permitted to respond, that isolation in a US Supermax prison is “relative” and will become a violation of Article 3 ECHR which prohibits torture, only if it extends indefinitely.
It will come as a considerable surprise to the inmates of ADX Florence, the prison in question, and their lawyers who struggle fruitlessly to challenge in the US courts their continuing solitary confinement for 8, 10, or 16 years, that the prisoners’ grim isolation could be considered only “relative” and its continuance as justiciable. It will be equally surprising to international lawyers, who may include the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, that the view of the European Court as to what constitutes isolation is apparently in conflict with their own.
The Court’s judgment however does not address at all the burning issue in these cases, and one that has been the focus of intense debate in the UK for the past 6 years, namely why in all logic, fairness, and practical common sense are not British citizens (whose UK actions are forming the basis of prosecution in the US, and where all of the evidence on which they are being tried was accumulated in its entirety in the UK by UK police and shipped lock stock and barrel to US prosecutors), being tried in their own country?
Every aspect of the 4 years of proceedings in the European Court would have been avoided had straightforward early steps been initiated to prosecute in the UK. The notion of the appropriate forum for trial and punishment being the accused person’s own country is the subject matter of automatic guarantees in many countries which refuse to extradite their own nationals but instead, guarantee that if extradition is sought by a foreign requesting state, that it will prosecute its own national instead. Or - the case in Holland and Israel - they will extradite their own nationals but only if there is an unshakeable guarantee by the requesting state that they would be returned if they are convicted, to serve their sentences in their country of origin.
That extradition, an important measure practised between states, must be respected, is a phrase frequently applied in the courts. What is important to point out is that the respect due to extradition stems not so much from respect for diplomatic relationships between states, but so that perpetrators of crime will not go unpunished. In each of the cases decided by the European Court today what has been emphasised by the Appellants throughout is not that any accused should “avoid justice”, but that they should be tried and if appropriate convicted in the country in which the claimed evidence was found, in which the relevant witnesses are present (both for the prosecution and the defence) and in which none of the serious issues raised in the European Court’s extended proceedings would have arisen.
Birnberg Peirce and Partners
Urgent Update: Free Babar Ahmad
An urgent statement from the Free Babar Ahmad campaign (April 10) on the decision to extradite Babar Ahmad to the USA:
“We are very disappointed with the decision of the European Court of Human Rights. While the decision deals with the issue of prison conditions in the US, the fundamental question remains as to why this matter has even got to Strasbourg and why Babar even needs to be extradited to the US.”
“There has been a serious abuse of process with the police completely mishandling the evidence seized from Babar’s home by sending it to the US before the CPS could take a view on it.”
“Babar is a British citizen accused of a crime said to have been committed in the UK and all the evidence against him was gathered in this country. Nevertheless, British justice appears to have been subcontracted to the US. This should be immediately rectified by putting Babar on trial in the UK and ordering a full public inquiry into the matter.”
“Our Member of Parliament Mr Sadiq Khan has now written to the Attorney General to ask why his predecessor Lord Goldsmith and the CPS misled us all by stating in 2006 that there was “insufficient evidence” to prosecute him in this country when they had not even seen all the evidence."
“Babar has already been imprisoned without a trial for almost 8 years, something he described in his recent interview to BBC as “the most unimaginable type of psychological torture.””
“Following the recent petition signed by almost 150,000 members of the British public asking for Babar to be tried in the UK and numerous cross party MPs asking for a change in the extradition treaty, we call on our government to listen to the British public and its elected officials and to put Babar on trial in his own country without any further delay.”
To arrange an interview, email email@example.com or telephone 07585355581.
You can also visit www.freebabarahmad.com or the official Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FreeBabarAhmad.
Babar Ahmad is also willing to engage in correspondence with the media who should write to him by recorded delivery at the following address: Babar Ahmad A9385AG, Detainee Unit, HMP Long Lartin, South Littleton, Evesham WR11 8TZ.
Free Babar Ahmad
This update from the Free Babar Ahmad campaign (April 6):
Action Alert: Demand a Full Public Inquiry into Babar Ahmad's case
Further to the historic interview with Babar Ahmad on BBC Newsnight, the Free Babar Ahmad (FBA) Campaign urges all supporters to write to the Attorney General to demand that he order a full public inquiry into the mishandling of the evidence seized from Babar’s home.
For eight years, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has repeatedly maintained that there was “insufficient evidence” to prosecute Babar for any crime in the UK. However, in November 2011, the CPS admitted in a letter to Babar’s legal representatives that it had reviewed only “some of the material” gathered during the searches of his house and office but “a significant amount” had not been reviewed.
It is clear that the bulk of the evidence gathered by the police was provided directly to the US authorities without the CPS ever reviewing it. This is a very serious and unprecedented abuse of process which has resulted in a man being detained without trial for almost 8 years, the equivalent of a 16 year criminal sentence.
There is an urgent need for a public inquiry into the manner in which the police and CPS mishandled the evidence seized in December 2003 and their subsequent actions.
Please ask your MP to write to the Attorney General demanding a full public inquiry into the matter.
We encourage supporters to prepare their own letters using the above points. A sample letter is below for your convenience but a personalised letter always carries more weight.
Click here to view the full release from the Free Babar Ahmad campaign, including the sample letter.
Greece: Time for Action
This from the Coalition of Resistance, regarding the current situation in Greece:
The Coalition of Resistance and the People's Charter have launched a new campaign in solidarity with the people of Greece. Click here to see the founding statement. Hundreds of people have already signed Tony Benn's appeal. We have been inundated with calls to organise in support of the people of Greece.
A planning meeting for the campaign will be held on Thursday 23rd February at 6pm. Please contact CoR Secretary Andrew Burgin should you wish to attend this meeting at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is time to take action. Please sign the statement and ask your anti-cuts group to send a representative.
We are proposing that an emergency delegation of trades unionists, politicians and campaigners go to Athens to meet with unions and other organisations there. This delegation will report back on events in Greece and outline the concrete ways in which we can help the people of Greece in their struggles against austerity.
This new campaign will require the devotion of considerable resources. Please consider giving a donation to COR. This can be done through paypal (click here) or please send a cheque made out to Coalition of Resistance, to CoR, c/o Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX.
Invitation to Public Meeting:
"From Reaction to Revolution:
2001-2011 Human Rights Audit"
At the Friends Meeting House, Euston, London
Urgent message: we regret to announce that this public meeting, originally scheduled for 5 February, has had to be postponed at short notice due to severe weather across the UK, which is disrupting travel and has resulted in some of our speakers being unable to attend. We will post a new date for the meeting here as soon as possible.
Update: Please note the amendments to the speakers' panel; there will now be four speakers at the event.
Harmit Atwal, of the Institute of Race Relations in London, has been monitoring the racially motivated attacks on BME, migrant and refugee communities and deaths in police custody.
Frances Webber, a lawyer specialising in immigration and human rights, retired from practice and now writing and speaking on the issues for organisations including the Institute of Race Relations, the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers and local anti-racist and refugee support groups.
Massoud Shadjareh, from the Islamic Human Rights Commission in London, has monitored the attacks on Muslim communities and nations and the resis
tance to oppression in the Arab Spring.
Sue Conlan, a founding member of Peace & Progress, has specialised in immigration and asylum both as a lawyer and political advocate.
More than ten years after the ‘war on terror’ commenced, the prosecution of this war through illegal invasions and occupations of countries and a catalogue of renditions to indefinite detention without trial and torture, it is clear there has been a profound attack on fundamental human rights and the rule of law.
The consequences of this have been far reaching – a global increase in racism, strengthening of dictatorial and undemocratic regimes as well as producing mass resistance and revolutions against them, it has rippled through politics in this country as the very nature of our democracy has been cast into doubt.
Peace & Progress is organising a meeting to take place in London on Sunday 5th February 2012 to serve as an audit of human rights violations and victories over the last ten years. It will act as a reminder of what has been lost and therefore of the struggle ahead but also of the successes in that period and the grounds for optimism for the future.
‘From Reaction to Revolution’ will seek to evaluate the position of Human Rights from particular perspectives.
Anyone with an interest in the politics of human rights is invited to attend in order to listen, learn and contribute to the debate.
In order to secure a seat, we are asking people to book and pay for a ticket, at a cost of £5 in advance, please use the email and postal addresses below.
Hettie Peplow, Secretary, Peace and Progress
The Warehouse, 54-57 Allison Street, Birmingham B5 5TH
Babar Ahmad: breaking news
High Court delivers historic ruling
This press release from the Free Babar Ahmad campaign:
The High Court in London has ruled that it was unlawful for Justice Secretary Ken Clarke to refuse the BBC permission to film an interview with British Detainee Babar Ahmad in prison, paving the way for the media to be allowed camera access to a British prisoner for the first time. Babar Ahmad is the longest held-without-charge British detainee in the modern history of the UK, having been in prison since August 2004 (seven and a half years). He is fighting extradition to the US, which accuses him of fundraising for Chechen and Afghan insurgents on the internet. In November 2011, over 140,000 signed an official government e-petition in support of his case, which led to two Parliamentary debates on the issue.
The judgment notes that the case of Babar Ahmad is exceptional for a number of reasons, including the fact that he has not been charged with any offence in the UK and the admission made by the Metropolitan Police that he was assaulted on his arrest. Mr Justice Singh makes an important finding that the unusual combination of factors in this case are such that not only was the decision to refuse permission to the BBC to film an interview with Mr Ahmad wrong, but that an interview has to be allowed: “More than that, in our view, the claimants’ rights in article 10 require that departure in the exceptional circumstances of this case, and the Secretary of State has not been able to justify denying those rights on the facts of this case.” (para 81)...
Click here to read the full release.
Guantánamo Bay: 10 years on
Anniversary events (week commencing 9 Jan)
This press release from Reprieve, on a series of events to mark the 10th anniversary of the detention programme at Guantánamo Bay.
January 11 2012 marks the ten year anniversary of the arrival of the first detainees at Guantánamo Bay. Today, 171 prisoners are still held at the notorious detention centre, which President Obama had promised to close.
Legal action charity Reprieve will be supporting human rights organisation CagePrisoners in running a series of events during the anniversary week to raise awareness of the 171 forgotten men that remain in Guantánamo – including British resident Shaker Aamer.
The schedule for week commencing 9 January 2012 is below. For all enquiries, please contact CagePrisoners on +44 (0) 203 167 4416 or email: email@example.com
Tuesday 10th: Press conference
WHO: Reprieve Director Clive Stafford Smith; CagePrisoners Director Moazzam Begg; former Guantánamo detainees and family members
WHAT: Press Conference – 10 years of Guantánamo; launch of Cageprisoners’ ‘LaaTansa: Never Forget’ online project
WHERE: Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, London, W2 1QJ
WHEN: 1030, Tuesday 10th January
Wednesday 11th: Guantanamo Remembered event
WHO: Victoria Brittain (chair); lawyers, former detainees and family members
WHAT: Guantanamo Remembered –10 years event, including: panel discussion; photo exhibition; screening of short film about remaining detainees
WHERE: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL
WHEN: 1800-2030, Wednesday 11th January
Please note tickets must be booked in advance – further information can be found here.
Thursday 12th: Film screening: ‘Death in Camp Delta’
WHO: Erling Borgen, film director; Colonel Talal al-Zahrani, father of detainee; Moazzam Begg; Reprieve Legal Director Cori Crider
WHAT: First UK screening of ‘Death in Camp Delta’,focusing on Yasser al Zahrani, a detainee who died at Guantánamo in 2006; followed by Q&A
WHERE: Curzon Cinema (Soho), 99 Shaftsbury Avenue, London, W1D 5DY
WHEN: 1830, Thursday 12th January
Please note tickets must be booked in advance – further information can be found here.
You can also click here to find full information on all the events, with links to further details, on the Reprieve website.
Babar Ahmad update
Further to our previous update, below, the House of Commons backbench committee has decided to relegate the debate on Babar Ahmad from the Commons Chamber to Westminster Hall. This from the Free Babar Ahmad campaign, which is urging its supporters to contact their MPs to request a full debate:
The e-petition to put Babar Ahmad on trial in the UK has now closed, having secured over 140,000 signatures, a phenomenal response in such a short space of time. The Free Babar Ahmad (FBA) Campaign commends supporters who have worked tirelessly over the last three months to raise awareness of Babar’s case, encouraging members of the public to sign the petition.
In spite of the enormous public support for the matter, the Parliamentary Backbench Business Committee has now refused to list this issue for a full debate in the main chamber of the House of Commons where it could be voted on by Members of Parliament; instead the motion has been relegated to form part of a pre-existing discussion on extradition, led by Dominic Raab MP, in Westminster Hall on 24th November 2011.
Discussions in Westminster Hall are not subjected to a vote and rarely have any practical effect. Other e-petitions which secured 100,000 signatures (including Hillsborough and the EU) have been subjected to a full debate in the House of Commons with a vote rather than being sidelined as a Westminster Hall discussion. It is therefore only fair that the petition to put Babar Ahmad on trial in the UK, which over 140,000 people have signed, also be fully debated and voted on.
Listing Babar’s case for discussion in Westminster Hall is a convenient way for Parliament to wash their hands of the matter by not subjecting the issue for a vote. The two reasons that have been given for refusing to have Babar’s petition debated in the main Chamber is that it lacks public support and that there is not enough time left in this year’s calendar for such a debate.
Click here for more from the campaign, including a template letter to forward to MPs.
The latest update from the Babar Ahmad campaign on the possibility of a parliamentary debate:
Following the e-petition to put Babar Ahmad on trial in the UK securing over 100,000 signatures, making it the third largest e-petition on the government website, the House of Commons Backbench Business Committee will soon be meeting to discuss whether a full parliamentary debate should take place or whether the matter can simply be discussed in Westminster Hall. No date has yet been scheduled for the meeting but we understand that it may happen very soon; potentially within this week.
The difference between the two is that the debate allows MPs to vote on the matter and has the potential to affect Babar Ahmad’s case. The Westminster Hall discussion is an easy way for the Government to wash their hands of the matter by not subjecting the issue for a vote.
The previous three e-petitions which secured 100,000 signatures have all been subjected to a full debate in the House of Commons with a vote rather than being sidelined as a Westminster Hall discussion. It is therefore only fair that the petition to put Babar Ahmad on trial in the UK, which over 125,000 people have signed, also be fully debated and voted on.
We are requesting all campaigners to write to their Member of Parliament as a matter of urgency and request that they attend the Backbench Business Committee meeting when it is scheduled and make representations to the Committee that a full debate is needed on the matter.
For an easy way to get in touch with your MP and a letter template from the Free Babar Ahmad website, please click here. More on the petition and the 100,000 signatures below.
Babar Ahmad petition reaches 100,000 signatures
needed for debate in parliament
The following press release is from the Free Babar Ahmad campaign:
Over 100,000 people in Britain have now signed an official e-petition urging the government to put British detainee Babar Ahmad on trial in the UK, instead of extraditing him to the US. The petition has been actively supported by a wide range of celebrities, including world boxing champion, Amir Khan, comedians Mark Thomas and Marcus Brigstocke, and actor Robert Llewellyn, who have been appalled by Ahmad’s ongoing detention without trial. He is now in his 8th year of detention, making him the longest detained-without-trial British citizen in the modern history of the UK. Now that over 100,000 people have signed the petition, the matter becomes eligible for parliamentary debate.
The family of Babar Ahmad stated: “Our solicitors have prepared a fresh file of evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer proving that the CPS should have prosecuted Babar in 2004. Over 100,000 members of the British public now ask the DPP to confirm that he will instruct independent counsel to conduct an urgent full re-review of this case so that Babar Ahmad can be put on trial in the UK. We also ask the coalition government to confirm that a full parliamentary debate will be held about Babar’s case with a view to putting him on trial in the UK. Our family would like to thank every single person who either signed or supported this petition. We are overwhelmed by the amount of support for Babar’s case. This shows that the British public is still prepared to stand up against injustice. The government must now take a bold stance on this issue and stop sweeping it under the carpet like it has done for the last seven years."
A number of senior politicians and lawyers have also spoken out in support of the petition. The Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP, Member of Parliament for Tooting said: “As Babar’s Member of Parliament, I have worked with his family and legal team for a number of years arguing that any trial should be held in the UK.” Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP called for Babar to “either be charged and tried here or released; his long and seemingly unending detention is a travesty of justice.” Leading civil liberties lawyer Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC described Babar’s ongoing detention without trial as “extraordinary hardship”, adding that it would be “monstrous and scandalous if Babar Ahmad were extradited to the US”.
Click here to visit the Free Babar Ahmad website.
UPDATE: transcript of Gareth Peirce's
Memorial Lecture for Corin Redgrave:
Torture and the Death of Justice: Where are we now?
The event went ahead and was very successful. Many attended who had known Corin over many years as an activist and as an artist. Eddie Gilfoyle and his sister Sue and husband Paul Caddick were among those present, whom Corin had supported in their campaign. We reproduce Paul’s letter here.
Click here to read the full transcript of Gareth's lecture.
P&P Briefing: Can we learn lessons about nuclear power from Chernobyl and Fukushima?
25 years on from Chernobyl, the disaster at Fukushima has once again raised questions about the potential environmental and health implications of reliance on nuclear power. This Peace & Progress briefing examines the issue in detail.
European Race Audit:
Breivik, the conspiracy theory and the Oslo massacre
The Institute of Race Relations has released a briefing paper on the recent killings in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik. An extract:
"In a closed court hearing on 25 July 2011, 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik admitted killing seventy-seven people on 22 July in two successive attacks in and around the Norwegian capital – the first on government buildings in central Oslo, the second on the tiny island of Utøya, thirty-eight kilometres from Oslo. But he denied criminal responsibility, on the basis that the shooting spree on the Norwegian Labour Party summer youth camp, which claimed sixty-nine lives, was necessary to wipe out the next generation of Labour Party leaders in order to stop the further disintegration of Nordic culture from the mass immigration of Muslims, and kick start a revolution to halt the spread of Islam."
Read the rest of the paper here.
Dale Farm Update:
P&P submission to Basildon Council, 2005
As the threat to Dale Farm intensifies, following the serving of the eviction order by Basildon Council, Peace & Progress is making its submission to the council available online once more, as we believe it presents all the arguments clearly and provides useful background information for anyone interested. It was submitted by Peace & Progress in 2005. As part of the campaign the late Sylvia Dunn, Dale Farm resident and campaigner for travellers' rights, stood against then Tory leader Michael Howard in the 2005 and general election as a Peace & Progress candidate.
Please click here to read the submission.
P&P Briefing Update
EU Asylum and Immigration Policy:
still mired in contradictions
“Political leaders all over Europe have been quick to condemn the violence in Libya, in Syria, in the Ivory Coast, and to congratulate our North African neighbours in their fight for democracy and freedom. But when it comes to dealing with the consequences of those developments, and particularly when it comes to dealing with the men, women and children coming to Europe for protection or in search of a better life, European leaders have not been as supportive”
Cecilia Malmstrom, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, 22 June 2011
As a result of the turmoil in North Africa, actively supported or encouraged by European governments, there has been a massive displacement of people fleeing the violence. Over one million Libyan nationals have left Libya, mostly to Tunisia and Egypt. In the month of May alone, over 65,000 had gone to the West African state of Niger, six times the number that had reached Lampedusa by that date. Since the beginning of 2011, over 48,000 have reached Italy from Libya and Tunisia, many of them displaced from their own sub-Saharan countries by conflict and trapped in Libya as a result of previous agreements between the EU and Libya to keep them there...
To read the full briefing update, please click here.
After the Riots
The Equality Trust was founded in 2009 by Bill Kerry, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. It campaigns to increase awareness, both in politics and among the public, of the damage to society caused by inequality. We are members of the Equality Trust; below is an extract from their latest bulletin to members with some very useful material. You can also click here to visit the Trust's website.
The disturbing riots across England that occurred last week are crying out for sober analysis and positive ideas that can prevent these scenes from being repeated... Yesterday it was announced that there will be an inquiry into the causes of the riots - the Trust will of course be responding, but we need your help to ensure that the relevance of inequality is fully recognised and widely understood at this crucial time. If you can, please take one or more of the following actions, directing people back to the evidence whenever possible:
1. write letters to your local or regional press - this is particularly important if you live in an area directly affected by the riots. It is quick and easy to email your local newspaper through our website and you should have a good chance of success.
2. write letters to a national newspaper, this is most effective and most likely to be printed if you can respond quickly to a specific article.
3. contribute to discussions on the social media sites that you use, and post your comments after online newspaper articles.
4. organise a local public meeting to discuss the riots in the context of inequality.
Although you will doubtless have your own points to make, some key aspects you may like to highlight are:
- Levels of crime and violence are strongly linked to inequality – see our recent Research Digest # 1.
The UK has very low levels of trust – barely 1 in 3 of us thinks that “most other people can be trusted”.
Low levels of trust undermine community cohesion and produce low levels of social capital (social interaction) which is a breeding ground for mistrust, misunderstanding and antagonism.
High levels of health and social problems, more common in poorer communities anyway, are further exacerbated by inequality leading to desperation in some people.
According to UNICEF, the UK is one of the worst places in the developed world to be a child or teenager.
Inequality encourages status competition and a “me first” approach to life which can be witnessed across society – from bankers to MPs to looters.
Greater equality would improve the overall quality of social relations in the UK and reduce the chances of a repeat of the riots.
Any help you can give in the coming days, weeks and months will be very gratefully received. If you don't have time to write a letter or organise a meeting, then perhaps you could make a donation to help us continue our work? Our Facebook page is a great way of keeping up with the latest media coverage; please do sign up and tell your friends, family and colleagues about it...
Anarchy and Austerity: Budget Cuts
and Social Unrest in Europe 1919-2009
This discussion paper from the Centre for Economic Policy Research, by Jacopo Ponticelli and Hans-Joachim Voth, is particularly pertinent following the recent riots. It provides a fascinating study of the relationship between budget cuts and social unrest, from 1919 to 2009. Please click here to read the full study.
Petition: Protecting Human Rights
Those who want the Human Rights Act repealed, and wish for the UK to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, are busily exploiting the recent riots to press home their demands. It is therefore more important than ever that they are vigorously opposed.
This petition, on the government e-petitions site, presses the government to uphold the ECHR in the face of a growing clamour for withdrawal.
Please click here to view and sign the petition.
Click here to read earlier news about the IRR's response to David Cameron's speech in Munich earlier this year.
Free Babar Ahmad: Petition
The following is from the Free Babar Ahmad campaign:
This month marks the seventh anniversary of Babar Ahmad's imprisonment without trial following an extradition request from the US. To mark the 7 year milestone, Babar Ahmad's family have set up an e-petition on the official government website urging them to put him on trial in the UK. The family are aiming to get 100,000 signatures to force a parliamentary debate in his case. They have also released a photograph of family members to mark the 7th anniversary.
Babar's nephew Ibraheem said, 'I was 7 weeks old when Uncle Babar went to prison, now I am 7 years old.'
Ashfaq Ahmad, father of Babar Ahmad said: “This anniversary brings back dreadful memories of that day seven years ago when I received a call from the police telling me that my son had been arrested. Babar – it’s been 7 years but we will not let you be forgotten."
The Free Babar Ahmad campaign are urging all UK supporters to sign this petition to the British government to place Babar on trial in the UK .
We need 100,000 signatures before 10 November 2011 for the issue to become eligible for parliamentary debate.
Click here to sign the petition.
Click here for previous news on Babar Ahmad.
Stop the Evictions:
Come to Dale Farm
Below is information from Dale Farm spokesman Grattan Puxon, on a variety of upcoming events and ways to participate in the campaign to save the Dale Farm community from eviction. (You can also click here to read all our previous Dale Farm news).
1. Camp Constant: a mass gathering of national and international supporters of the Dale Farm community will commence on the ‘Big weekend’, Saturday, 27th to Monday 29th August, which is the final weekend before Travellers have been told they must abandon their homes or face the bulldozers. Residents of Dale Farm have invited supporters down for a long weekend of skill sharing and cultural celebration. Join us for:
* Training for legal observers and human rights monitors
* Practical eviction resistance workshops
* Acoustic music on Saturday night
* Traveller history & celebration
Sleeping space is available in caravans and residents homes or you can bring a tent, and you are welcome to sleep over on Friday August 26th. There will be more information next week, but for now, we would love to hear from people who to help out with this. In particular:
We’re planning a full programme of workshops for the weekend. We may have space for some additional workshops if you have some constructive/inspiring ideas, relevant to resistance and Traveller heritage. We’re also looking for people with good ideas/energy/kit for some workshops for kids and young people. There are over 100 children facing eviction at Dale Farm and residents have especially asked for creative workshops that the young people can enjoy. If you think you can help, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
residents are keen for some acoustic music on Saturday night ‘to cheer us all up’ without disturbing elderly and unwell residents. There are likely to be several small music tents on Saturday evening and some open mic spots. Traditional Irish music with fiddles extremely welcome, but if you have a band who can play a good uplifting acoustic set, or are just happy to fill an open mic slot, please email: email@example.com
2. Haven’t been to Dale Farm yet? Well, either wait for the ‘big weekend’ 27th – 29th August, or get a head start on site this weekend. There’s loads to do, so join us on site at 11am for a morning briefing and site tour. See:
To spend nights at Dale Farm here
To get our email bulletins here
4. Invite your friends to the facebook group
for pledging to spend a night at Dale Farm here
and for the big weekend here
5. Amnesty International
has sent a call out
to all their many thousands of supporters, condemning a forced eviction which would leave families homeless, when no alternative culturally appropriate site has been made available. This follows last week’s letter from the UN Special Rapporteur to the UK government
, expressing concern that the planned forced evictions will be a clear breach of human rights legislation, if families are not offered an alternative site before forced evictions take place. See the Essex University Human Rights Clinic
for more information on this.
7. Remember the Demo
: Sat, 10th Sept, 1pm, see here
for more information and email: firstname.lastname@example.org to add your group’s support to the list…
Peace & Progress:
The Right to Self Determination
"An essential component of liberty is the right of an individual, a community, a people, a territory or a nation to make for itself the key decisions which affect and govern its existence. In terms of international law, this is called self-determination.
Throughout history, demands for self-determination have been shaped by conquest, imperialism and colonialism; by nationalism, separatism and irredentism; and by the demand for political power by disenfranchised communities and populations."
To read the full briefing paper, please click here.
Bringing Down Qaddafi
After 3 days of talks in Doha, Qatar, which concluded on 14 April 2011, the Libya Contact Group (the LCG) made no progress in seeking to end the stalemate in Libya. This was the first meeting of the LCG following the international gathering in London on the 29 March 2011. In announcing the formation of the LCG, William Hague, the British Foreign Minister, said that the Group would “provide leadership and overall political direction to the international effort, in close co-operation with the United Nations, the African Union, the Arab League, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the European Union to support Libya”.
In the light of the failure to reach agreement in Doha on the way forward, a joint statement was issued by the leaders of the UK, France and the USA. Its sentiment, like that of UN Security Resolution 1973 itself, is difficult to contest. But crucial questions remain to be answered. These include ‘why now?’ and ‘if and how should the international community ensure that Qaddafi is forced out of Libya?’ The answers to these questions inform our position on the international intervention in Libya and underline the difference between the present situation and the intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq which Peace & Progress has consistently opposed.
Read the full briefing paper in PDF format by clicking here.
Europe's asylum and migration policy: for the promotion of human rights or the protection of economic self-interest?
On 4th October 2010, the European Union and Libya signed a ‘migration cooperation agenda’ in Tripoli. Signatories for the EU were Cecilia Malmstrom, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs and Stefan Fule, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy. Signatories for Libya were Moussa Koussa, Libya’s Foreign Minister, and Younis Al-Obeidi, Secretary of the General People’s Committee for Public Security. The terms of the agenda were vague but included cooperation on border surveillance, smuggling and trafficking, refugees and international protection.
The migration co-operation agenda was the culmination of several years of negotiations and agreements between both the EU and Italy with Libya on immigration, dating back to October 2004, when the international arms embargo against Libya was lifted after Gaddafi, encouraged by Tony Blair, had announced in December 2003 that Libya was giving up its weapons of mass destruction.
To read this briefing in full, please click here
'The Big Lie'
George Osborne and David Cameron are desperately trying to re-inflate the banking bubble by pumping money from our public services to fund corporation tax cuts, selling the bailed out banks back to the city and allowing the obscene bonus bonanza to resume while declaring ‘we are all in it together’. That is a big lie. The failure to reform the banking system makes the next crash inevitable. But as Mervyn King The Governor of the Bank of England has pointed out “The price of this financial crisis is being borne by people who absolutely did not cause it.”
The coalition government has, without pause for thought, debate and without mandate rolled out a programme of cuts and privatisations which will fundamentally alter the structure of British society. The deficit is real, destructively real, but it was not caused by nurses, teachers, social and public sector workers but it is they who have picked up the tab.
To read the statement in full, please click here.
False Economy is a union funded website which explains why cuts are the wrong cure for our current financial situation. Click here to read False Economy's proposed alternative approach to dealing with the deficit.