Action: McKinnon Extradition Halted

In response to today’s decision to halt the extradition of Gary McKinnon on human rights grounds the Free Talha Ahsan Campaign requests the following:

  • Comment on the preferential treatment McKinnon received compared to Talha Ahsan. Send the BBC a SMS to 61124, or tweet @BBC_HaveYourSay or post here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19962844

  • Contact the National Autistic Society who called for McKinnon’s extradition to be stopped, whilst refusing to act for Talha Ahsan, despite having the same diagnosis, citing “lack of capacity.” Tweet @NASInfoCentre or email nas@nas.org.uk
  • Write letters to all the national and local newspapers covering this story and comment on their websites.


Points to mention:

  • Talha Ahsan has the same Asperger diagnosis and risk assessment as Gary McKinnon.
  • Despite this whilst McKinnon was bailed for ten years, Talha was detained without charge or trial for over 6 years in high security prisons in legal limbo, in conditions particularly difficult for an Aspergers sufferer to endure.
  •  Both were accused of computer related activity. McKinnon admitted his guilt whilst Ahsan pleaded not guilty.
  •  The alleged crimes in both cases were committed on British soil yet the forum bar has only been expediently introduced on the day of the McKinnon decision, only ten days after Ahsan was extradited. Had this been applied earlier then the extradition of Ahsan and Ahmad would not have proceeded.
  • Expert advice was noted in McKinnon’s case and led to extradition being halted but were ignored in Ahsan’s. Dr Quinton Deeley recommended Talha receive specialist care for his condition after he was diagnosed in 2009: “It should be noted that by virtue of his Asperger’s syndrome and depressive disorder, (Talha) is an extremely vulnerable individual who, from a psychiatric perspective, would be more appropriately placed in a specialist service for adults with autistic disorders and co-morbid mental health problems, with a level of security dictated by his risk assessment.”A European Court of Human Rights hearing in March this year said that before Talha was diagnosed with Asperger’s, “a psychiatrist had predicted a high risk of serious depression leading to suicide if the third applicant (Ahsan) were to be extradited and placed in solitary confinement for a long period.”

    In a submission to the ECHR, an American criminologist detailed the “heightened difficulties experienced by those with Asperger’s syndrome in federal prisons and the absence of proper facilities within the Bureau of Prisons to treat the condition”.

    Despite this diagnosis, Talha has been extradited and now faces life in prison in solitary confinement in a US facility.

  • Prime Minister David Cameron had previously stated: “Gary McKinnon is a vulnerable young man and I see no compassion in sending him thousands of miles away from his home and loved ones to stand trial. If he has questions to answer, there is a clear argument to be made that he should answer them in a British court”.
  • Mark Lever, chief executive of the National Autistic Society, said “People with Asperger syndrome can be vulnerable and the NAS argued long and hard for the home secretary to take Gary’s condition and its associated challenges into account when making this decision.” He said the extradition could have “serious and potentially tragic ramifications”.These statements apply equally to Ahsan.
  • A Home Office spokesperson has said that: “Each case is decided entirely on its own merits. Syed Ahsan’s case was considered at length by the UK courts and the European Court of Human Rights, which decided that extradition to the United States would not breach his human rights.” McKinnon’s case however was also rejected at the ECHR and in the domestic courts.
  • The following statements of support for Talha Ahsan can be referred to:

    BMJ Letter

    Statement from Roderick Cobley

    Statement from Sarah Layzell, Aspirations Project 

 

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