UK terror suspect wins payout for police beating
By RAPHAEL G. SATTER | Associated Press | March 18th, 2009
LONDON (AP) - A British terror suspect fighting extradition to the United States was awarded thousands of pounds (dollars) in compensation Wednesday for being assaulted by police during his 2003 arrest.
Computer specialist Babar Ahmad, 34, will receive 60,000 pounds (more than $80,000) in damages after lawyers for Scotland Yard acknowledged that he was subject to gratuitous violence and religious abuse by officers who burst into his southwest London home in a dawn raid on Dec. 2, 2003.
The police admitted that officers repeatedly attacked Ahmad even though he offered no resistance, putting him in a neckhold, wrenching him around by his handcuffs and pulling his testicles.
At one point officers forced him into a Muslim praying position, and one screamed: "Where is your God now?" according to Phillippa Kaufmann, Ahmad's lawyer.
She said the assault continued in a police van as Ahmad was driven to a central London police station.
"You'll remember this day for the rest of your life, do you understand me, you (expletive) bastard?" one officer told him, according to Kaufmann.
Ahmad was released without charge but was re-arrested in August 2004 on a U.S. extradition warrant. He remains in custody.
American officials accused the Pakistani native of running Web sites to raise money for the Taliban, appealing for fighters and providing equipment such as gas masks and night vision goggles to terrorists.
Ahmad was also a key figure in the trial of a former U.S. sailor accused of revealing classified information about the movement of Navy vessels and their vulnerability to attack.
Prosecutors had accused Hassan Abu-Jihaad of Phoenix of communicating with Ahmad while on active duty on a U.S. destroyer in 2000 and 2001.
Abu-Jihaad allegedly discussed naval military briefings and praised those who attacked the USS Cole off Yemen in 2000. Officials said a search of Ahmad's computers showed files containing classified information about the positions of Navy ships and discussing their vulnerability to attack.
Abu-Jihaad denied the charges. He was convicted by a Connecticut jury of leaking secret information and providing material support to terrorists in March 2008, but a federal judge overturned the terror conviction this month.
Ahmad's extradition was approved by British officials in November 2005 but he is still battling the move.
Relatives released a statement on Babar Ahmad's behalf saying he was pleased with the judgment.
"I can now put this incident behind me and focus on the fight to prevent my extradition to the United States," the statement said.
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