Amnesty International Express Concern for Tooting Two: Babar Ahmad & Talha Ahsan

Press Release

11/ 10/ 2012

Amnesty International has issued a public statement for the Tooting Two Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan following their extradition to the USA. The Human Rights organisation expressed concern at the conditions of pre-trial solitary confinement and extreme isolation in US Supermax jails. The statement said:

“There is ample evidence in the USA and elsewhere that prolonged confinement to a cell with social isolation can cause serious physical and psychological harm. Concerns about such impact are heightened with regard to individuals, like some of those extradited, who have pre-existing medical conditions or mental disabilities. “

Detainees are confined to solitary cells for 23 or 24 hours a day with little natural light, no outdoor exercise and limited contact with the outside world. A request by Amnesty international to visit ADX Florence, to view the conditions first-hand, was turned down by the US authorities in July this year.

This follows an earlier intervention in the extradition case by United Nations special rapporteur Juan Mendez who condemned prolonged solitary confinement in US prisons as torture and ill-treatment.

Labour Shadow Justice secretary and their local MP, Rt Hon Sadiq Khan  said: “I am very concerned by the findings in Amnesty International’s report on Supermax prisons.

“The charges that my constituents, Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan, faces are very serious. But Talha is particularly vulnerable, as he suffers from Asperger’s syndrome. It is important that he is given the opportunity to have a fair trial rather than undue pressure being applied upon him.

“These very real, concerns have been highlighted to the UK authorities by myself, Talha’s legal team, his family and now Amnesty International. ”

Hamja Ahsan, 31, Talha’s brother and his campaign leader said: “After seeing the way Christopher Tappin was treated in solitary confinement after extradition, I am extremely worried for my brother. It has been psychological agony for the family, especially our elderly parents. Most prison suicides and self-harm occur in solitary confinement. ”

More information

Additional photographs & images available on request.
Or Hamja Ahsan, curator & producer of the event:
Mobile: 07542993012
follow @hamjaahsan on twitter & @freetalha

Notes to Editors:

1. The full Amnesty International statement on extradition cases of Babar Ahmad & others is available online here:

2. Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad have recently been extradited to the United States on an indictment relating to a website 1997-2001 that allegedly supported Chechen and Afghan insurgents. They have been detained for the longest periods in British history without charge or trial prior to this: Ahsan since 2006; Ahmad since 2004. For full details, the official campaign website are here: and here:

3. On 18th October, 7pm, Hamja Ahsan will be speaking at a public meeting at the Karibu Education Centre. Guests included: Robert King of Angola 3 who spent 29 years on solitary confinement in an wrong conviction and Omar Deghayes who was spent 6 years in Guantanamo Bay. Tickets are free and can be reserved here:

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