British police admit abuse of Pakistani terror suspect

March 18th, 2009 - 10:00 pm ICT by IANS  

London, March 18 (DPA) British police Wednesday agreed to pay 60,000 pounds ($83,850) in compensation to a terrorism suspect after admitting that the man was subjected to violent assault and religious abuse during his arrest.
Babar Ahmad, a 34-year-old IT analyst of Pakistani origin, had alleged that he was punched and repeatedly choked to the point of unconsciousness during his arrest on a US extradition warrant in an anti-terrorism raid in London in December 2003.

He was present at the High Court hearing Wednesday which heard Scotland Yard chief Paul Stephenson concede that Ahmad had been the victim of “gratuitous violence” by officers. One of the unnamed officers allegedly involved is expected to face criminal proceedings.

Ahmad, who was never charged in Britain following the raid, had been suspected of links to Al Qaeda. He is awaiting extradition to the US on charges of fundraising in support of terrorism in Chechnya and Afghanistan.

At the High Court hearing, the Metropolitan Police admitted that officers had subjected Ahmad to brutal beating, despite his offering no resistance.

The court heard that an officer twice placed him in a life-threatening neck hold, causing him to feel that he was about to die.

Officers openly mocked his Islamic faith, at one point forcing him into a praying position with an officer shouting “Where is your god now? Pray to him”, the court heard.

One officer had grabbed his testicles and pulled hard, causing intense pain, the court was told.

One officer told him after a beating in the police van: “You will remember this day for the rest of your life.”

Ahmad’s counsel, Phillippa Kaufman, said the treatment to which her client was subjected was intended “to humiliate and debase him and make him fear for his life”.

“This abuse took place not in Guantanamo Bay or a secret torture chamber but in Tooting, south London,” a statement read out on Ahmad’s behalf said.

His wife, Maryam, said she was “delighted” at the court ruling which came after a “long and hard-fought campaign” lasting six years.

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