22nd November 2013
The family-run campaign of an extradited British Citizen has been nominated for a Liberty Human Right Award 2013 for highlighting the injustice of summary Extradition through the creative arts and “inspiring” leadership. Hamja Ahsan, Talha’s younger brother by 1 year and a curator and artist by profession. He has been selected by Liberty:
“For his inspiring work leading www.freetalha.org. This creative and innovative campaign highlights the case of Hamja’s brother, Talha, a British-born poet and writer with Aspergers syndrome who was detained without charge or trial for six years in the UK before being extradited to the US in October 2012 where he is currently detained. Hamja has used art, poetry, film and music to bring the issue of summary extradition to wider public and political attention, stating that he is ”…not asking for much, just justice.”
Hamja Ahsan, Talha’s youngest and only brother, campaign leader said :
“The family would like to thank the thousands of nationwide supporters who supported Talha campaign throughout this crippling Kafkaesque nightmare of Talha unjust Extradition and 7 years of detention without trial. We have drawn inspiration from the endurance and courage of many British justice campaigns from Hillsborough Justice Campaign to United Friends and Family Deaths in Custody. Talha himself was an inspiring human rights campaign prior to his detention who campaigned for the closure of Guatanamo Bay and British civil liberties. We continue campaign to reform the extradition law towards fairness, justice and balance, so no more British families and residents have to go through the same nightmare ever again.”
Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, said: “It’s been a turbulent year for freedom – the scale of blanket surveillance was laid bare, attacks on our legal system undermined open justice and dog-whistle politics fuels a cheap and nasty anti-human rights rhetoric.
“But our shortlist reminds us there are still wonderful people willing to fight for precious values – not for personal gain but because they believe in a free, fair society. This is our way of saying thank you.”
Winner of the award will be announced on 25th November at an official award ceremony.
Additional photographs & images are available on request from: Hamja Ahsan Email: email@example.com / Mobile: 07542993012 Twitter: @hamjaahsan @freetalha & hashtag : #BringTalhaHome
Notes to Editors
1. Liberty honours human rights heroes in annual awards ceremony. Liberty will reward outstanding human rights heroes at its annual Liberty Human Rights Awards, which will be held at Southbank Centre in London on Monday evening.The event will recognise those individuals and organisations that have dedicated themselves to protecting and promoting the rights of others throughout the year. This year’s nominees include young people, families, campaigners, lawyers, activists and artists – all of whom have made memorable contributions to the human rights agenda in 2013. For further info contact the Liberty Press Office o020 7378 3656 or 07973 831128
2. Full list of Human Rights ‘Far from Home’ Award. Other Nominees of the award: – Susan Smith, Colin Redpath, Karla Ellis and Courtney Ellis: For their determined fight for justice for their loved ones, who were all killed in Snatch Land Rover vehicles in Iraq. The families took their campaign all the way to the Supreme Court and won – leaving a legacy of Human Rights Act protection for every service man and woman. – Stand Fast for Justice – Reprieve: A campaign aimed at highlighting the treatment of over 100 prisoners engaged in a hunger strike in Guantanamo Bay to protest against their detention without charge or trial.
3. A joint letter by Shami Chakrabarti & Hamja Ahsan in the Guardian on the 1 year anniversary of Talha extradition can be read here http://www.theguardian.com/law/2013/oct/04/rotten-extradition-law-tahla-case
4. Talha Ahsan is an award-winning British Muslim poet and translator. He has been detained for over seven years without trial. He was extradited to the USA on 5th October 2012 with his co-defendant Babar Ahmad, via the controversial US-UK Extradition Treaty of 2003, on allegations relating to association with the obsolete Azzam websites from 1997-2002 covering Bosnia, Chechnya and Afghanistan. He is now in pre-trial solitary confinement in a Connecticut Supermax prison. His diagnosis with Asperger’s syndrome has raised comparisons with the case of Gary McKinnon. Talha trial has been delayed to March 2014. Full details on the case and campaign may be found at www.freetalha.org
5. Talha Ahsan brother has earlier been nominated for a Shell Our Heroes Award 2012 by South London Press for his campaign on Extradition : http://freetalha.org/2012/11/ill-campaign-for-the-rest-of-my-life/