January 23rd 2013
A painting entitled: British Justice for British Citizens? by a young British artist Kamel Baksh compares Theresa May treatment of Talha Ahsan and Gary Mckinnon
The painting features a blind folded Theresa May in the centre, against a union jack and the scales of Justice with Gary Mckinnon case to the left and Talha Ahsan to the right, topped with a quote from the Quran about injustice.
The extradition of Talha Ahsan, followed by the halting of Gary Mckinnon extradition on health grounds of Aspergers syndrome and suicide risk resulted accusations of double standards from anti-racist and Muslims organisations. Leading Muslim organisations such as Muslim Council of Britain, Islamic Human Rights Commision and Sarah Joseph, of EMEL Magazine, accused the government of a two-tier system justice for British Muslims. Similar accusations cames from anti-racist organisations such as JUST and SACC.
The painter Kamel Baksh said: “The recent incident involving the extradition of Talha Ahsan inspired me to paint ‘British Justice for British Citizens?’. The aim of the piece it to raise awareness about the unfairness of the extradition treaty and how it has resulted in many people being targeted, some lives being destroyed (without a fair trial), and tremendous grievances caused to their families. I hope through this painting, people will realise that it is unacceptable to allow what has happened to Talha to happen to others, where their most basic right of being innocent until proven guilty is violated.”
Hamja Ahsan, brother of Talha Ahsan, who leads the Free Talha Ahsan campaign an art curator by profession said:
“Talha Ahsan campaign has attracted the support of many artists and writers including Children laureate Michel Rosen, musician and filmstar Riz Ahmed and novelist A. L. Kennedy who would read Talha poetic letters at Tate Modern and other festivals. Many are inspired by my brothers ability to produce beautiful award-winning poetry whilst under detention with trial in the harshest of prison conditions of group isolation and prelonged solitary confinement. Many creatives are also inspired by the endurance and courage of the ongoing family campaign.”
Additional Photographs & Images available on request.
Or Hamja Ahsan, Talha’s younger brother and campaign leader
Notes to Editors:
1. Talha Ahsan was been detained 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 to pre-trial solitary confinement on 5th October with his co-defendent Babar Ahmad to US Supermax prison in Connecticut at Northern Correctional Facility. Trial will be in October 2013 Full details on the case and family campaign: www.freetalha.org
2. The painting will be exhibited until 27th January 2013 at Studio 700, Ground Floor, Hounslow Library, Treaty Centre, Hounslow, TW3 1ES as part of an exhibition called “Invitation to Paradise”. Opening times 9.30am – 5.30pm Mon, Weds, Friday, Saturday. Closing at 8pm on Tuesday and Thursday. Closing 4pm on Sunday. 24th January will be special meet and greet with the artist Kamel Baksh 5pm -8pm
3. Kamel Baksh is a young Muslim British artist, currently residing in London. His subject matter is often religious with images of Hajj and Islamic architecture. For further information on his paintings then please contact : firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KamelBakshArt
4. Arts Against Extraditions is a creative campaign promoting democratic and human rights, plurality of voices, equality and peace. They promote and document artistic acts that call for an end to the unfair UK-US extradition treaty that was amended in 2003 in the panic, spin and diplomatic pandering surrounding the war on terror. AAE are a group of artists, designers and illustrators who witnessed how British families were being torn apart and individuals lives left in limbo because of the extradition act..Arts Against Extraditions is not aligned to any political persuasion and seek to work with campaigning, cultural and political organisations from across the spectrum who promote tolerance, justice and equality.http://artsagainstextraditions.tumblr.com/about
AAE are most famous for the “Extradite Me, I am British” T-shirt which has appeared on CNN, ITV news, The Economist & The Indepedent & other global news media: http://shop.ihrc.org/p/180/extradite-me-im-british-t-shirt