Statement of Support Rachel Hager – Welcome Home Talha

“I was really happy hearing the news Talha was going to be coming home after being released. From a personal perspective I was delighted for Hamja and all of his family as I know how tirelessly Hamja has campaigned. It hasn’t been possible to go to a protest, meeting or conference and not bump into him there, he has always been keen to make the necessary links between his struggle for justice with so many other struggles. Hamja has been absolutely inspirational – like so many other family led campaigns in his strength and relentless fight for justice for Talha.

I also received one of the last letter’s Talha sent from a UK prison before he was extradited and he had drawn a poignant picture with trees and bright sun shining through them on to page of his letter. I was struck by his beautiful way of thinking and his ability with words, he said:

“I am content and grateful for these moments brimming as they are with wisdom and the means for self-improvement. I thrive like never before as if spring shoots in this divine light despite the darkness around me. If to be swallowed up by the US prison system it will expose the true nature of politics and justice in this country then a great good has been achieved.”

From a legal perspective I was also quite shocked as I had not expected a US Judge to take the approach she did in sentencing Talha, which was essentially a questioning and evidence-based approach – something that you would have hoped should be a given but has previously not been the case with US judges – rather they have often just been unconditionally defensive of the government.

Finally politically – this is a victory for all political prisoners and that fills me with joy. 4 days after Talha and others were extradited from the UK, Theresa May began her speech to the tory party conference saying, “wasn’t it great to say goodbye – at long last?” As Talha said in his letter to me the ECHR decision to extradite him made an inhumane penal regime permissible on this side of the Atlantic. I am so glad that this attempt to extradite Talha with a hope he would rot away a US prison system has not worked. After 8 of imprisonment for Talha won’t it be great to say hello – at long last?”

- Rachel Hager

Leave a Reply