Britain: Police admit torturing Muslim

March 21, 2009

Performing in Sydney in 2007, comic Sean Hughes expressed his empathy with Britain's Muslim community — being Irish and living in London, he knew how it felt to be persecuted in the name of "anti-terrorism".

He said he had just read in the paper of how six Muslim men had been arrested in Birmingham and asked: "Is this ringing any bells?"

He didn't want to be accused of alarmism, he said, but he had this piece of advice: "If you are Muslim and live in Guildford, don't hang out in fours."

Hughes was referring to the infamous cases of the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four, in which, during the 1970s, innocent Irish men in Britain were framed by police and jailed for bombings they had nothing to do with. They suffered torture and abuse.

Evidence that Hughes' warning was well-founded has come with London police admitting that a Muslim man arrested under anti-terror laws had been tortured and was still in jail more than five years after being arrested, despite having never been charged.

A March 19 AFP report said: "London's police admitted abusing a terror suspect on Tuesday, subjecting him to prolonged violent assaults and religious mockery."

London's Metropolitan Police agreed to pay 34-year-old Babar Ahmad $127,240 in damages.

Ahmad, whom police admit "was the victim of gratuitous violence during a pre-dawn arrest at his home" in 2003, has never been charged with any crime.

However, AFP reported that police "twice placed him in a life-threatening neck hold and one officer wrenched his genitals. Others deliberately pulled him about by his handcuffs, causing him excruciating pain."

Despite facing no charges, Ahmad has stayed in jail since his arrest while a court rules on whether a US government request for his extradition is legal.

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