FREE TALHA AHSAN
21st November 2012
Extradition survivor Gary Mulgrew joins Hamja Ahsan – brother of Talha Ahsan who was recently extradited to the US in October 2012.
Hamja will be giving the latest public update on the family situation, since his brother’s extradition to solitary confinement in US. He will be reading from his brother’s award-winning prison poetry, published whilst he was in prison. A revised 2012 edition of the collection, This be the Answer, with an updated introduction by Richard Haley of SACC will be released on the day.
Gary Mulgrew will read from his recent prison memoir Gang of One outlining the ordeal of Extradition, and US prison system, soon to be made into a Hollywood film.
Aviva Stahl, an American researcher will talk about the War on Terror’s effects on the US judicial system, and due process and civil liberties violations.
Hamja Ahsan said:
“Gang of One was one of Talha’s favourite books whilst detained without trial, anticipating extradition. In family prison visits, we were both deeply moved by the accounts of surviving the brutality within the American prison system. Members of the Natwest Three are part of a wide alliance of support for the family campaign. The disgraceful Extradition laws have ruined the lives of many British families and Mulgrew’s book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how.”
On the perils of extradition, Gary Mulgrew commented:
“In a society where our concept of justice is underpinned by the belief that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, how can it be acceptable to inflict punishment before establishing any culpability? Imprisonment; humiliation; bankruptcy; destruction of your family, your job and your home….this is the automatic price of Extradition. A price paid – even though you are still innocent in law.”
Speakers: Gary Mulgrew, Hamja Ahsan, Aviva Stahl
Date: 23rd November 2012
Venue: Abrar House, 45 Crawford Place, W1H 4LP
Nearest Tube: Edgware Road
Free entrance. All welcome. No reservation needed. Street parking free from 18:30.
For further information contact:
Hamja Ahsan, Talha’s younger brother and campaign leader – 07542993012 / email@example.com
Additional photographs and images available on request.
For questions regarding the event contact the City Circle on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to Editors:
1. Talha Ahsan was detained for over 6 years without trial, charge or prima facie evidence on the controversial 2003 US-UK Extradition treaty on allegations relating to association with an obsolete foreign jihad website from 1997-2002 covering Bosnia, Chechnya and Afghanistan. He was extradited to the USA on 5th October with his co-defendant Babar Ahmad. Full details on the case and family campaign: www.freetalha.org
2. Notes on speakers:
Gary Mulgrew joined NatWest Bank in 1983 and worked for them internationally before joining the Royal Bank of Canada in 2000. His banking career ended in June 2002 when he was indicted by the US authorities for allegedly defrauding NatWest. After years of court battles and a high profile public campaign, he and two other members of the ‘NatWest Three’ were eventually extradited to America. Two years of detention in Houston, Texas were followed by two years in seven different prisons in the United States and England until his full release in early 2010. He now runs a number of successful businesses in the south of England, supported by his bankers, NatWest, and has written a book, Gang of One, about his ordeal (http://www.gang-of-one.com/).
Hamja Ahsan is an artist, cultural producer and curator by profession who has exhibited widely nationally and internationally. Hamja has postponed his career to campaign full-time on behalf of his brother – poet and Asperger’s Syndrome sufferer Talha Ahsan – with media appearances, a recent film a recent film (http://www.extraditionfilm.com), poetry and speaker tour across all major UK cities. He has been nominated for the Shell Community Hero Award 2012 for his work on civil liberties campaigner and the Free Talha Ahsan campaign.
Aviva Stahl is a researcher at Cageprisoners. She is especially interested in how due process violations and systemic procedural improprieties affect the trials of individuals accused of terrorism. She blogs regularly for CP, and endeavours to link the issues in the War on Terror to other social justice concerns, including animal, environment and social rights. In the past year and a half, Aviva is the author of Too Blunt for Just Outcomes (2011) and the Guantanamo Begins at Home: Islamophobia, Rights Violations, and American Criminal (In)justice (2012).
3. Talha Ahsan’s poetry booklet This be the Answer was first launched in January 2011 by novelist A. L. Kennedy and published by Radio Ramadan Edinburgh. It features a foreword by human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar and Richard Haley of Scotland Against Criminalising Communities. Talha Ahsan’s poetry “Grieving“ won the Platinum award & Bronze award for collection at the 2012 Koestler Awards. The poem is still projected at London Southbank Centre at Royal Festival Hall until 25 November as part of the exhibition : http://www.koestlertrust.org.uk